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Copyright, 1908, by HARPER & BROTHERS. 

All rights reserved. 
Published April, 1908. 

Bancroft Library 


Part I 



Sorakichi Prometheus 




How the Attack on San Francisco was Repulsed 



A Hard-won Victory 



How the North Atlantic Squadron Met the Enemy 





A Ship of the Air 


How the "Calabria 11 was Captured 

Part II 


Fighting for the Flag 



What a Boy Did to Save Life and Ship 



The Strange Tale of a "Revolution" 




How a Tidal-wave Helped the Rebels 




Raiding Oriental Pirates 




A Tale of Fire at Sea 




Pursued by the Russian Police 




In the Depths of the Sea 




In the Service of Japan 




SIDE OF THE ENEMY 7 ' Fating p. 46 


THE ENEMY 77 " 62 

TEER" . . . ,. " 104 



APPEARED 77 " 172 


GREETED ME 777 " 180 


(I C 


IN this book the imagination of some of our 
most fascinating writers has found a wide 
range in strange adventures of the sea. Once 
upon a time a book was written called The 
Battle of Dorking, which was read by all Eng 
land because the invasion of England which it 
pictured stirred the imaginations of the most 
peaceable English citizens. Again, the lament 
ed Frank R. Stockton wrote a tale of The 
Great War Syndicate, which proved to be a 
most amusing fantasy of war. In the present 
volume several most ingenious dreams of bat 
tle are sketched with a vividness and dramatic 
force which will absorb the interest of readers. 
They are no more real than the invasion of our 
earth by the people of Mars. Most fortunately 
our country is at peace, and since every reason 
able American wishes peace to continue, we are 

not likely to see again the horrors of war. 


When we became a great Pacific power, and 
undertook new responsibilities in acquiring 
Hawaii and the Philippines, we gained new 
neighbors. Among them is the gallant nation 
of Japan, whose bravery in war and mastery 
of the arts have caused the whole world to 
wonder. In the middle of the nineteenth cen 
tury our country introduced Japan to the outer 
world, and the friendship begun then will, we 
trust, continue always. Some of the story 
tellers in this book have selected Japan as an 
antagonist in their imaginative pictures of 
future wars, and others have chosen England. 
But the fact that an Englishman or Japanese 
or an American plays a fighting part in a story 
and comes to grief does not assuredly mean 
any hostile prediction or expression of ill-will 
towards his particular country. Quite aside 
from the dramatic interest of our tales of great 
naval encounters, some of these ingenious 
stories lead to results which would quickly 
put an end to war a result to be earnestly 
hoped for. 

There are few whose imagination is not 
stirred by the sea, and the purpose of this book 


is to present a series of pictures of exploits and 
adventures at sea. Throughout there runs the 
note of human bravery and endurance. The 
story of the sea is a great book, and in its varied 
pages may be read many a lesson of patriotism 
and dauntless courage. 





the butter a fair wind," said the 
engineer. " It's running free already," 
growled the navigator. 

The wardroom mess of the American, cruiser 
were at breakfast, and the hum of their con 
versation drifted up through the skylight with 
the odor of the good things that the naval officer 
finds for his table in so civilized a port as 
San Francisco. 

The paymaster was in an argumentative 
mood, which was not unusual for a man who 
had pronounced views on all things, from the 
advanced method of polishing brass-work to 
the latest doctrines of " Empirical Psychol- 


gy?" an d when lie had his talking-tacks aboard 
his messmates looked for fun. 

" Look at the activity in her dock-yards," he 
was saying, " look at her purchase of trans 
ports, look at her mobilization of troops! As 
sure as this is the twentieth century, Japan 
wants the Hawaiian Islands and the Philip 
pines, and is going to fight for them !" 

" Well, if she does, old man," said Jack 
Bowers, the senior watch, " we'll simply own 
a few more Asian archipelagoes." 

" I doubt it," replied the paymaster. " If 
this war comes, we're going to get the only 
licking we ever had." 

A chorus of indignant groans greeted this. 

" Oh, it's very well to groan," he went on ; 
"but let me tell you that the Japanese have 
engines of warfare that you don't even dream 

" They can certainly fight," said the en 
gineer. " Russia learned that." 

" There is no other country on earth with 
Japan's knowledge of advanced electricity and 
the higher mechanics," went on the paymaster. 
" Her mechanical experts are simply marvels. 
Why, their discoveries and inventions are al 
most beyond belief. 

" When I was in Japan I made a great 


friend of a native scientist, who simply laughed 
at Maxim's aeroplane and Langley's steam- 
motor when I spoke of our flying - machines. 
It seems that Sorakichi, a remarkable chemist 
over there, has devoted the last ten years to 
inventing new compounds and contrivances for 
the sole use of the government in war-time. 
My friend took me on a fifty-mile drive back 
into the country, and from the hill-top we could 
see his works ten miles away. A magnificent 
collection of foundries, smithies, and machine- 
shops were smoking at a great rate, and we 
could distinctly hear the roar of the immense 
forges from where we were standing." 

" Why didn't you go in and look around a 
bit?" asked the junior watch. 

" Because, my friend," was the answer, 
given with some asperity, " there was a scowl 
ing little Jap soldier on guard, who poked his 
snickersnee at us and told us to get out of 

" I didn't know you understood Japanese," 
remarked the engineer. 

" I didn't have to," said the paymaster. 

" Well, what's all that got to do with these 
high old flying-machines that you were talk 
ing up just now ?" 

" Simplv this : Sorakichi has evolved an air- 


ship that makes thirty knots against the wind 
and is perfectly controllable." 

" Oh yes/' laughed the engineer. " I sup 
pose you proved it by taking a ride in one." 

" ISTo ; but a great many other people have 
proved it by observation," answered the pay 

" Yes ? Where ? In Tibet or the Mountains 
of the Moon ?" 

" In the United States of America, not long 
'ago. You may remember when it looked as 
if we might have trouble, reports of mysterious 
air-ships began coming in, first from various 
Western towns, and then from different spots 
in the interior." 

" Yes, and a lovely ' fake ' they turned out 
to be," growled the executive. 

" Did they ?" asked the paymaster. " I was 
under the impression that the newspapers 
dropped the subject after being unable to find 
out anything about them. We do know this, 
however the air-ships began to appear short 
ly after the arrival of the Jap cruiser Naniwa 
Kan at the Golden Gate; they appeared only 
at night, so that no one could inspect them 
critically; and they were invariably seen near 
one of OUT military depots, modern forts, or 
masked batteries." 



During the chaff over the paymaster's new 
dogmatism the navigator came in from the deck 
and took his seat. " Well, old Adams's marine 
monster is coming down from Vallejo at last/' 
he said. 

" What's that ?" asked Chisei, the little doc 
tor who had recently joined. 

" Thankful Adams Maine classmate of 
Bowers/' explained the junior watch, hastily. 
" Stood first in ( math ' and languages, and was 
* wooden ' in everything else, especially con 
duct. Resigned and blew out to China. Drift 
ed back two years ago, and been building a 
monstrosity in a Yallejo dock-yard. Let's go 
and look at her." 

The officers crowded up to the quarter-deck 
and looked over the brilliant panorama for the 
approaching stranger. Abeam of the cruiser 
to port was another still larger; to starboard, 
the fortlike shape of a battle-ship. Astern, a 
fleet of massive battle-ships swung ponderously 
at their moorings, while dead ahead, through 
a triple line of gunboats, cruisers, and torpedo- 
boats, a grotesque little craft was threading a 
fishlike way. Her blunt nose, in the centre 
of which gleamed a small protruding dead 
light, rose from the water-line to a height of 
fifteen feet. Three fathoms from what would 


have been the cut-water in an ordinary vessel 
a small snaky-looking tube wabbled and flopped 
with every motion imparted by the waves. 
Abaft this rose a slender mast with a light 
signal yard - arm. There was neither deck 
house, pilot-house, nor smoke-stack, but her en 
tire after-part, of but two feet freeboard, ap 
parently disconnected from the hull proper, 
wagged slowly from side to side like the tail 
of a prehistoric saurian. 

The quartermasters on the bridge levelled 
their glasses at her with rapturous grins, the 
officer of the deck regarded her with amazement 
through his binocular, and Jacky, from various 
perches on the forecastle and forward barbette, 
relieved his feelings in expressions of unholy 


" I kin die happy," said one. " I've seen the 

" De horned beast off de Ref elations," mur 
mured a Hebrew coal-heaver, raising his eyes 
ecstatically to heaven. 

" Ah, get out, Jonah !" cried another. " Put 
on a life-belt. Here comes your whale." 

Slowly the little monster threaded her way 

to the port quarter of the cruiser, where she 

came to rest. \ 7 oluminous bubblings near her 

nose indicated that she had cast anchor, though 



nothing aboard showed her means of doing 

A water-tight slide opened aft, and a small 
dingy slid into the water. From the narrow 
hatchway emerged a civilian and two sailors, 
who stepped into the little boat, which was 
pulled swiftly to the starboard gangway. The 
civilian skipped up the ladder, and was met by 
a group of officers. 

" Well, Adams," said Bowers, stepping for 
ward to meet him, " you have done it now !" 

" Done what ?" asked Adams, looking down 
at his clothes to see if reference was intended 
to new paint or greasy brass-work. 

" It," answered Bowers. " Why, man, as 
you came down the bay you threw the com 
passes out of adjustment on every ship in port, 
and I saw the old Chicago shying like a three- 

" Worse 'n that," said the navigator. " The 
doctor here says that since you anchored three 
cases of insanity have developed forward. You 
ought not to be allowed to go around terrifying 
seafaring men this way." 

" I don't see," began Adams, with preter 
natural gravity, " why I should have injured 
any compasses. My ship has very little steel 
in her, and " 



" Oh, you dear old Tartar," interrupted 
Bowers, " will you never see a joke ? Come 
down below and look at our steering-gear." 

They all went below, and Adams busied 
himself for a few moments before the ward 
room looking - glass, arranging his tie and 
folding his lapels with mathematical pre 

" By George, you look more Celestial than 
ever," said Bowers, as his guest surveyed him 
self with calm approval. 

" Ought to," said Adams ; " been taken for 
a Jap by Japs for fifteen years." 

In truth, he was a queer type of the " Down- 
Easter." His hair was black and straight, his 
complexion sallow to yellowness, his eyes dark, 
almond, and penetrating, between high Mon 
golian cheek-bones. In his black string tie and 
long frock-coat he looked more like an Oriental 
proselyte than a Yankee sailor. 

" Did you happen to run foul of one Soraki- 
chi in any of your Asiatic larks ?" asked the 
junior watch. 

" Who ? Sorakichi ? Oh yes !" said Adams. 
" He was working in my line ; began experi 
ments when I did. Queer beggar; shut him 
self up in a machine-shop for ten years and 

guarded his secrets with a private army. Guess 


lie never made much of a success of things or 
we'd have heard from him." 

" The paymaster's been filling us up with 
yarns about him," remarked Bowers. " Says 
he's built air-ships to beat the Dutch." 

" He has ; but they haven't flown any more 
than mine have," said Adams. " And if mine 
had been worth shucks I'd have sold 'em to the 
Mikado. He's out with a search-light for such 

" You'd better try him with that apparition 
you just brought down the harbor," announced 
the navigator. " He might buy her for a new 
kind of patent dragon." 

" What ! the automobile ?" asked Adams. 

" Automo Oh, heavens !" exclaimed Bow 
ers. "Call her the automosinker ; in the first 
gale she's liable to become her own anchor. By- 
the-way, what's her name?" 

" I call her the Franklin." 

" If my classical lore is not at fault," re 
marked the junior watch, " that's early Saxon 
for ' farmer.' " 

" She's named after a great electrical sharp 
of the eighteenth century," was the impassive 

" And he expects her to go ' kiting,' " con 
tinued the engineer. 



It was three days after this that a fast cruiser 
came flying into port with the news of Japan's 
startling seizure of Honolulu and Pearl Har 
bor. It was too late to carp at the government's 
policy of leaving the city without the protec 
tion of the fleet, but the total destruction of 
the islands' fine new fortifications on the night 
of the 17th filled the country with amazement 
and indignation. There were those who be 
lieved that the fortress and the forts had been 
destroyed by accidental explosions from within, 
but the general conclusion seemed to be that 
the Japanese cruiser Fujiyama, which was sup 
posed to be armed with improved dynamite 
guns of great power, had crept up under the 
darkness to an exact range and shattered the 
works, one after another, with her stupendous 

The bustle of war preparation began with 
fury. The fleet was ordered to hold itself in 
readiness for immediate departure, and three 
fast cruisers were sent out at once as scouts 
and patrol-ships to the north, south, and to the 
westward. As the last vessel was about to get 
under way, the Franklin's gig, with Adams 
in the stern - sheets, wearing a battered old 
lieutenant's uniform, pulled over to the gang 
way. The inventor had a short interview 


with the Captain on the flying - bridge, and 
left that gallant officer smouldering with 

" I told them I wouldn't have any flimsy 
little torpedo-boats tagging around after me and 
breaking down in squads, so they've sent that 
pollywog of an experiment instead." 

" What's the matter, sir ?" asked Bowers, 
with a suppressed grin. 

" Oh, they've commissioned Adams, and sent 
that Flying Dutchman of his after me for a 
tender," growled the " Old Man." " He says 
she can make forty knots. Forty knots! I'll 
bet last year's pay she don't do ten." 

" Anchor's in sight, sir," reported the officer 
of the deck. 

" Very well, sir ; get under way." 

The indicator sounded, and the splendid ves 
sel forged ahead. On she went through the 
long lines of parti-colored cruisers, past the pic 
turesque summit of Alcatraz and the crumbling 
ruins of the quaint old forts. She pointed 
straight at the setting sun that lingered tender 
ly on her trailing banner and mellowed the 
haze about the tawny headlands of the Golden 
Gate. And just astern of her, with the flexible 
tube waggling ridiculously for all the world, 
as Bowers said, like the horns of a catfish. 



the little Franklin came flopping comfortably 
along in her wake. 

The cruiser's new engines gave her an easy 
twenty knots under natural draught, and when 
she cleared the land and began to push along 
with accelerated way all eyes were turned curi 
ously toward the Franklin. The little craft, 
however, bore up comfortably enough until early 
morning on the third day out, when she began 
to fall astern, and a group of flags fluttered up 
to her signal yard-arm. 

" What is it now ?" asked the Captain, paus 
ing in his " constitutional " on the quarter-deck. 

" Says his engines is broke down, sir," sang 
out the signal quartermaster. 

" Of course," roared the " Old Man." " But 
I'll not wait for him. If he thinks I'm a float 
ing patent - office and machine - shop he's mis 

" Axes permission to heave to and make re 
pairs, sir," continued the quartermaster, step 
ping aft. 

" He has permission to go to wherever he 
pleases," growled the skipper, sotto voce. 

" Says he needs no assistance, and can over 
take us in two hours, Captain," said the signal- 
officer, watching the changing flags astern. 

" Very good. Tell him that if he hasn't got 


us in sight by noon to return to port. And, by- 
the-way," added the skipper, with a malicious 
twinkle, " just give my compliments to the 
engineer and tell him to fire up." 

A rising hum from below told of increased 
revolutions, and by one bell in the forenoon 
watch the blank horizon showed no trace of hu 
man existence. As the bell struck three, how 
ever, a hail came from the lookouts in the for 
ward military tops. 

" Smoke O !" they shouted together. " Two 
p'ints on the starboard bow!" 

" Messenger, call the Captain !" sang out 
Bowers, who had the deck. 

" Clear for action !" called the executive, 
popping out of the wardroom hatch like a jack- 

" How's she heading ?" asked the Captain two 
minutes later, as he reached the forward bridge 
and levelled his glass. 

" Eight for us, sir," responded one of the 
lookouts, in a clear tenor. 

" Beat to quarters," snapped the skipper, 
and the bustling multitude on deck melted away 
and resolved itself into silent groups at the 
sharp clangor of the gong and the shrilling of 
the boatswain's pipe. 

" Can you make out her colors ?" 


" Not yet, sir/' came a deep bass from aloft. 

A brief interval of silence, broken only by an 
occasional thud as a hastily donned garment was 
kicked into obscurity. 

" Her helium's a-port," rang out the tenor. 

" A ram bow !" sang the bass. 

" An' a turret for'a'd !" screamed the tenor. 

" An' Japanese colors !" roared the bass. 

A smothered cheer rose as the order, " Cast 
loose and provide!" was heard coming sepul- 
chrally from between-decks. 

The stranger was now in plain sight from 
the bridge. 

" It's the Fujiyama, sir," said Bowers, pok 
ing his head through the man-hole in the for 
ward turret, where his gun crews were at 

" So I see," said the Captain. " But what 
does he mean? By George, I believe 
the beggar's trying to give us the slip! 
Signal the engine-room to give her all she'll 

The enemy had swung completely round to 
starboard, and the increased volume of black 
smoke from her funnels showed that she was 
piling on coal. 

" Twelve thousand yards," signalled the 

range-finders in the tops. 


" Try an eight-inch, Bowers/' called the Cap 

" Ay, ay, sir/' and that officer skipped joy 
ously back into his grimy hole. A flash and a 
roar followed, and the officers on the bridge 
watched the projectile fly over its lofty traject 
ory only to drop far astern of the chase. 

" A mile short/' said the navigator. 

" Easily/ 7 answered the Captain. " Tell the 
engineer to pile on steam; that fellow sha'n't 
escape !" 

But it was soon evident that the Fujiyama 
was not thinking of " escape." She slowed 
down perceptibly, and from a spot just abaft 
her military mast a small, dark, elliptical ob 
ject soared aloft. Another and another fol 
lowed at intervals of ten seconds. The first 
one moved rapidly to the south, the second to 
the north, the third headed directly towards the 
cruiser. Soon the others turned and approach 
ed from either hand. 

" Aloft there !" called the Captain. " What 
do you make out?" 

" Balloons, sir," came the bass from the upper 

" With wings and tails/' called the tenor. 

" An' men in 'em !" thundered the bass. 

The Captain looked perplexed and grieved. 


" Get all the elevation you can on the machine- 
guns," he ordered. " Dismount ? em if neces 
sary, and fire at will." 

From the sides and superstructure of the 
cruiser came a steady crackling blaze as Hotch- 
kiss and Nordenfeldt spouted their streams of 
fire. The marines in the tops had dismounted 
their light weapons, and by a clever arrange 
ment of tackle could point them almost per 
pendicularly. But the air-ships had now reach 
ed an elevation of more than a mile, and every 
shot fell short. 

" Cease firing," ordered the skipper, sharply. 
" Mr. Keelson," to the executive, " crowd the 
tops with small arms." 

" Eight thousand yards," signalled the range- 

" May I try her again, sir ?" asked Bowers. 

" Do so," nodded the Captain. 

By this time the first of the air-ships had 
reached a point almost directly overhead, and 
the Fujiyama was apparently moving under 
one bell, awaiting developments. Her curiosity 
cost her dear, however, for while the projectile 
from Bowers's port gun whizzed harmlessly over 
her trucks, the sister shot went straight to its 
mark, and a red flame, a cloud of smoke, and a 
dull report near her overhanging stern showed 


that the shell had landed fair. The small tor 
pedo-launch abaft her superstructure flew shat 
tered from its crane, and a bright blaze crept 
for a moment along her starboard rail. 

" Well done, Number Two !" called the Cap 
tain, as a wild cheer burst from his men. 

" Look aloft ! Look aloft !" cried the signal- 

The air-ships were gathering in, and the first 
one was directly overhead. She stopped, poised 
herself for a moment, and a round, black object 
dropped from her side. It fell hissing through 
the air, and struck the water thirty yards on 
the starboard beam. There was a terrible rend 
ing roar, and a great smoking gulf opened in 
the water. The officers on the bridge were cov 
ered with hot spray dashed violently against 
them. The cruiser staggered for a moment and 
lurched violently over on her beam ends. She 
hung so long that it seemed as if she would 
never right herself ; but at length she shook the 
water ponderously from her sides and returned 
to an even keel. 

It was more than humanity could endure, and 
numbers of the men rushed up from between- 
decks, thinking that the magazine had exploded 
and the ship was sinking. They had hardly 
returned below, under the sharp orders from 
a 19 


the bridge, when the second air-ship took posi 
tion and let fall her bomb. This fell too far 
away to do damage; but the third came closer, 
and again the great ship rolled almost to her 
destruction. Things now looked hopeless; it 
was apparent that sooner or later one of the 
dreadful missiles would reach its mark. But, 
to the surprise of those on deck, the three air 
ships circled about and headed back toward the 
Fujiyama, which by this time had drawn out 
of range of the cruiser's guns. 

" Queer manoeuvre that," said the Captain. 

" They've gone after more ammunition," sug 
gested the executive, levelling his glass. 

" We've got to smash the Fujiyama before 
they leave her again," muttered the Captain. 
" What are we making, Keelson ?" 

" Twenty-one and a half, sir," answered the 
executive, with a glance at the indicator. 

" Tell the engine-room to use oil." 

The cruiser vibrated from stem to stern as 
the revolutions of her screws increased. Black 
smoke and fiery tongues of flame trailed astern 
from her heated funnels. A jet of white spray 
rose almost to the catheads on either side, and 
her wake stretched broad and foaming astern; 
but the enemy kept her distance, and the bow 

guns could not reach. The air-ships overtook 


the Fujiyama and settled easily down upon her 
deck. A brief interval of suspense, and they 
appeared again, heading as before, one to star 
board, one to port, and one directly at the 

" Muster the crew on deck," ordered the Cap 
tain, in a low voice, " and station the band 

It was a calm and lovely setting for the 
final act of an ocean tragedy. The long blue 
swell of the Pacific was white-flecked here and 
there by the morning breeze. The sun gleamed 
through a pale-gold mist over fleecy clouds and 
tender skies and gleaming sea. All seemed 
peace from where the Fujiyama, her harsh out 
line softened by distance, sped towards the sharp 
rim of the western horizon to where the stately 
bulk of the American ship advanced grandly 
over the waters. The flags fluttered serenely 
aloft; the crew stood erect and defiant at their 
stations, the officers stern and determined at 
their posts. An increasing rattle and clatter 
of small arms broke out forward ; aft, the band 
crashed into the opening strains of the " Star- 
spangled Banner." 

And so that Yankee crew sped onward to 
meet their doom. Their faces were white, but 
their souls composed ; no thought of surrender 


was in any heart. And the mysterious foes 
drew closer. 

But now, to break in upon the terrible sus 
pense, a strange sound came from off the 
cruiser's quarter a sound of boiling seas and 
engines gone to chaos. The good ship was mak 
ing well over her twenty-two knots, but a gro 
tesque gray shape drew up on her beam, forged 
ahead, and left her behind as though she had 
been lying idly at a navy-yard dock. 

" The Franklin!" burst from the lips of the 
officers on the bridge. 

The little craft steered directly towards the 
nearest of the approaching air-ships. No sign 
of life was visible on her deck, but the flexible 
tube forward, which had not ceased its vibra 
tions from the moment of her launching, sud 
denly became rigidly still, and pointed like a 
finger of steel toward the birdlike thing aloft. 

" Call him back !" cried the Captain. " Tell 
him to withdraw ! He doesn't know " 

No spout of flame slipped from the muzzle of 
that mysterious finger, no smoke burst from its 
hidden chamber, but the day was darkened with 
a shock, and a blinding blue glare went flashing 
from sea to sky. Far aloft a muffled roar echoed 
over the heavens like a rattling peal of thunder. 

Daylight returned dimly, and the men of 


the cruiser raised their dazzled eyes to the blue 
space where they had seen their nearest foe. 
Nothing was there save a dull-brown cloud, 
which drifted peacefully along with the cirrus 
and cumulus of creamy white. 

A cry burst from the awed lips of the quarter 

The second air-ship was coming like the wind, 
but now she stopped, wavered, and careened in 
mid-air, turned to fly, and vanished, like the 
first, in the diabolical glare of the Franklins 

The third, warned by the fate of her prede 
cessors, and still far from the scene of their 
disaster, had already dropped her bomb into the 
sea, since the weight now only impeded her es 
cape, and had flown despairingly back to the 
shelter of the Fujiyama. 

But the little Franklin had not yet finished 
her work. She plunged onward with the speed 
of a hungry shark, and closed rapidly on the 
enemy's cruiser. When she was five miles ahead 
of the cruiser, midway between the two men-of- 
war, she stopped suddenly, and a line of signals 
climbed to her yard-arm. 

" What does she say ?" asked the Captain. 

" She says oh, Lor', sir !" exclaimed the 
quartermaster, skipping after his neglected 


signal-book, and turning the pages with a wet 
and hasty thumb " she says for him to heave 
to an' surrender, or she'll sink him." 

"And, by jingo, he does it; there go his 
colors !" exclaimed the Captain, as the Japanese 
flag dropped sullenly to the deck. 

The executive folded his telescope with a 
snap. " This, sir," he said, gravely, " is the 
last sea fight of history." 

"He's signalling to us now, sir," continued 
the quartermaster ; " he's axin' Mr. Bowers to 
go an' look in his locker for a letter from 
Cap'n Adams." 

At the implied permission from the Captain, 
Bowers, accompanied by those officers whose 
duties permitted their temporary absence from 
the deck, hastened below to his state - room. 
And this, scrawled in Adams's unmistakable 
hieroglyphics, and stowed away in Bowers's 
room by some sleight - of - hand, is what they 
found : 

" That man Bowers, he thinks I don't know 
a joke. But he can just order for twelve covers 
when we get back to 'Frisco. He talks to me 
about Sorakichi and his Japanese flying -ma 
chines. But I've got something that '11 just 
knock 'em silly. Controllable air-ships are all 

right, but controllable lightning's better. And 


I know, my son, because I invented 'em both. 
What did you think I was doing in Japan all 
these years ? Don't you call me any more Tar 
tars, you dear old wooden section-man! Can't 
you guess it? I'm Sorakichi!" 



How the Attack on San Francisco was Repulsed 

STKANGE fleet is in sight to the west- 
JL\ ward." This is the startling report of 
the wireless telegraph from the Farallone Isl 
ands, situated twenty-eight miles nearly due 
west of San Francisco. The General receives 
the report without a sign of the anxiety he feels, 
and continues his study of the huge maps before 
him. He is contemplating the vast amount of 
work that has been accomplished in the last 
three months since war had been declared. 
Then San Francisco had been a defenceless city 
at the mercy of the most insignificant enemy; 
now it is as nearly impregnable as human skill 
and ingenuity can make it. 

The General takes a lingering look at the 
maps on his desk; running over the different 
forts, he sees with pride that there is nothing 
left undone. 



On Point Lobos, the southern cape of the 
outer harbor, on high bluffs, are three 16-inch 
rifles mounted on disappearing carriages, the 
guns, in the loading position, being behind 
breastworks of earth and concrete. In this posi 
tion the guns are sighted, then they rise to 
the firing position above the earthwork for 
only a few seconds, and then recoil to their 
position of safety. On the high land be 
tween Point Lobos and Fort Point are two 
12-inch and two 10-inch rifles in Grueson tur 
rets, the armor consisting of eighteen inches 
of Harveyized nickel - steel. The turrets are 
segments of a sphere, and are manipulated like 
those on a battle-ship. A little higher up is 
one of the two formidable pneumatic guns, the 
explosion of whose shell within twenty yards of 
a ship would send her to the bottom. At Fort 
Point, the southern cape of the Golden Gate, in 
earthworks of old design patched up and 
strengthened, are four 10-inch rifles with dis 
appearing carriages. On the northern cape of 
the Gate, Point Bonito, are three 16-inch rifles 
mounted in a similar way. The second pneu 
matic terror is also at this point, commanding 
the entrance to the Gate. Point Diablo is 
fortified with three 12-inch and two 10-inch 
rifles on disappearing carriages, and Lime Point 


will defend the harbor with four 10-inch rifles 
mounted in the same way. The outer harbor 
seaward of Fort Point and Point Diablo has 
been well mined, making it impossible for a 
vessel to enter in safety even though she had 
escaped the tons of steel hurled at her. The 
cables from the mines are led to a central 
station on the bluffs back of Fort Point. If by 
chance the enemy's ships should ride over this 
hidden explosive, the simple pressure of a key 
in this station would send them all to de 

At the mine station are two observers, who, 
by an instrument similar to a range - finder, 
discover from time to time the position of the 
enemy on this chart. When the unlucky ves 
sel is over a mine the key is pressed. 

On Sutro Heights is a heavily armored tower, 
the inside of which to an inexperienced eye 
would appear like a central-telephone station. 
It is the General's headquarters in action. 
From here he and his staff will direct and con 
trol the battle. This is the brain of the in 
tricate fortifications. The nerves run to every 
battery and central station, making it but the 
work of a minute to transmit orders to any 
point. Before another half-hour has slipped 

away everything is activity within the forts. 


The wires from the General's tower are busy 
with the many orders transmitted. 

Actual hostilities began months ago in the 
Far East, but as yet have not laid their cruel 
hand on the Pacific slope. 

While the army has been making the Golden 
Gate a fortress, the navy has not been idle. All 
the fighting ships on the coast have been col 
lected, and the work on the new ones so ex 
pedited that a formidable fleet has been massed 
in the harbor. The flag-ship, cleared for action, 
the Admiral's blue flag flying at her truck, is 
lying behind Alcatraz Island; made fast to 
the different mooring-buoys by slip-ropes is the 
rest of the Pacific fleet: battle-ships, cruisers, 
and a coast-defence monitor. 

The foreign fleet is now in sight from Sutro 
Heights. A glance through the powerful tele 
scope tells the General it is the enemy six 
first-class battle-ships and eight cruisers, for the 
belligerent country depends upon the capture 
of this rich city to defray the heavy expense of 
the war. 

They are approaching in double columns, 
the battle-ships leading. Nearer and nearer 
they come. The range-finders at the different 
batteries show that the range is rapidly dimin 
ishing. News has reached San Francisco, and 


the high bluffs about the city are thronged with 
an excited crowd. The blue-coated regulars 
have gone to their stations, and stand ready at 
the command to open the greatest battle the West 
has ever seen. On the ships of the enemy come, 
majestically cutting the smooth sea, throwing 
the silvery spray upon their bare forecastles, 
over which the heavy turret-guns are to soon 

" Four miles, sir !" reports one of the Gen 
eral's aides. The batteries at Lobos and Bonito 
are ordered to open fire. The six big 16-inch 
rifles thunder forth their challenge almost 
simultaneously, and nearly three and a half 
tons of steel go speeding toward the approach 
ing enemy. All eyes are turned seaward, 
where suddenly columns of water are thrown 
up close aboard the on-coming ships. Again 
and again the heavy batteries speak ; shot after 
shot goes on its deadly flight, making havoc 
on board the silent vessels. The fleet is ap 
proaching at nearly fifteen-knot speed; it will 
take them but eight minutes to reach the range, 
when tons of gun-cotton will be sent out to meet 
them both above and below the peaceful sea. 
They are heading directly for the entrance. 
What can be their intention? Will they dare 
attempt to run the forts? Do they suppose 



the harbor is clear of mines and they have 
naught to fear save the guns ? The range-finder 
dials point to 4000 yards from the Gate. All 
the guns on the forts are blazing forth fire, but 
the gunners' aims are poor, and the better part 
of the shots are fruitlessly ploughing up the sea 
in the vicinity of the enemy. One well-aimed 
16-inch shell strikes home on the nearest ship; 
her armor is pierced, and she has become un 
manageable and drops out of the advancing 
columns. Nearer and nearer comes the fight 
ing. At last the dreaded puffs of smoke dart 
from the battle-ships' turrets, and the shells are 
coming screeching ashore, tearing up the earth 
in the fortifications. With a glass one of the 
aides is scanning the sea at the entrance to the 
harbor. An exclamation escapes him as his 
glass focusses on some object of interest; with 
a finger trembling with emotion he points out 
to the General two small red flags, barely dis 
tinguishable on the water's surface, midway 
between Point Lobos and the nearest ship. A 
glance shows it to be the flags on a controllable 
torpedo. Out it goes at a terrific speed ; nearer 
and nearer it approaches its intended victim. 
Harmless enough look these small pieces of 
bunting, but underneath the water not many 

feet lurk nearly five hundred pounds of deadly 


gun-cotton. It has passed astern of the lead 
ing ship. Will it run out its scope and fail? 
A small column of water is seen to ascend from 
the flags, and the next moment the second bat 
tle-ship is nearly engulfed in a mighty ex 
plosion. The first charge tears the torpedo-net ; 
the second makes one less ship to attack the 
batteries, for she is fast sinking. The gun- 
cotton has exploded against her steel hull. A 
cruiser drops out to render assistance. 

An explosion that seems like an earthquake 
to those in the fortifications tells that the first 
gun-cotton shell has exploded near the enemy. 
One of the leading battle-ships heels over and 
slowly sinks beneath the waves ; her seams have 
been opened by the force of the explosion. The 
enemy now is in irregular formation, more 
nearly like double echelon; they are pouring 
in a scathing fire on all the batteries. As they 
approach the torpedo-range, they starboard and 
stand out to sea, bringing to bear their after- 
turrets. Some of their shots have worked 
awful havoc ashore; gun after gun has been 
dismantled ; one of the pneumatic guns has been 
struck by a shell and is a total wreck. The 
remaining controllable torpedoes have failed. 

The pneumatic gun on Point Bonito is aimed 
at the nearest ship, but a mile and a half away ; 


the gauge on the accumulator shows the air- 
pressure is sufficient. The lever is tripped, and 
the quarter-ton of gun-cotton, with a whir, is 
hurled on its errand of destruction. The eye 
can distinguish the aerial torpedo as it soars 
to the height of its trajectory, and then majesti 
cally and swiftly steals down towards its help 
less prey. Will it explode? It strikes the 
water a few yards from the target, but the look- 
ed-for explosion does not follow; the fuse has 
failed. The next minute every gun of the 
enemy is trained upon this terrible weapon, 
knowing that if the shell is again let loose their 
ships will be like chaff before this tremendous 
power. The enemy is now confident of victory. 
Signals go up on the flag-ship, and in a very few 
minutes the old formation is resumed, and once 
again they head for the harbor. 

The firing becomes hot and furious; broad 
side after broadside belches forth from the 
enemy's steel sides; a few shells go wide into 
the city, and dense columns of black smoke 
from the buildings set on fire lend a more awe 
some aspect to the picture depicted. 

The observers at the mining-station are ner 
vous with the suppressed excitement within them. 
Their chart shows that the ships of the enemy 
are only eight hundred yards away from their 


mines. Will it be their fortune to decide the 
fate of the Golden City? The ships still ad 
vance. Soon they will come over the mines. A 
pressure of the key under the hand will dis 
charge tons of the hidden explosive. 

But the enemy has stopped. What does this 
foretell? Five hundred yards from the mines 
the ships are nearly motionless in the troubled 
sea lashed to foam by the ploughing of so much 

All the batteries are now doing splendid work. 
Explosion follows explosion on board the in 
truding ships. Two cruisers are unmanageable 
and on fire; they drift onto the rocks almost 
within a stone's throw of one of the batteries. 
Suddenly torpedoes shoot from the bow tubes 
of the leading ships, and a few moments after 
wards tremendous columns of water are seen to 
rise from the bay, and the next second the sound 
of a mighty discharge reaches the expectant 
ears of the defenders of the Gate. The officer 
at the mining-key knows from the spark that 
jumps across under his hand that the enemy has 
countermined and the harbor is clear. The 
struggle has come to such close quarters that 
the rapid-fire and machine-gun fire lends its 
sharp cracking report to the dull roar of the 
heavy guns. 



But the foe has stopped too long ! The mortar- 
battery on Lobos has gotten his range. Sud 
denly, with a whir, a column of smoke rises 
in the air just over the bay, and a bunch of 16- 
inch mortar-shells falls upon the decks of the 
battle-ships. One shell strikes over the boilers 
of one of the ships, penetrating them a second 
later, and the explosion rends her asunder. 
Where this powerful steel-clad had been but a 
moment before is but the hissing foam of trou 
bled waters. 

The General sees the fight has now reached 
the critical point; the cruisers have dashed 
ahead and will soon be within the harbor. 
Many of the batteries have been put out of 
action by the well-aimed shots of the enemy. 
The navy is needed, but the telephone connec 
tion with the station has been severed; the sig 
nal has not been made. Time is precious. A 
few minutes more, and the whole fleet will be 
within the Bay of San Francisco, and, without 
the batteries, will be more than a match for 
the few United States ships. 

An exclamation involuntarily escapes from 
the General's lips as he sees the American flag 
ship emerge from behind Alcatraz Island, and 
come rushing down to the fight. 

The small fleet was thought too valuable to 

4 35 


hazard against such as the enemy brought. The 
plan was not to expose it till the signal was 
made. But the Admiral, behind Alcatraz Isl 
and, has been pacing up and down the deck of 
his battle-ship, tugging at the restraining bonds, 
growing more and more impatient as the can 
nonading has become more furious. The crews 
of the ships feel the inactivity keenly ; anything 
is better than this suspense. Why does not the 
signal come ? The Admiral will wait no longer, 
but slips his moorings, regardless of conse 
quences, and appears in the nick of time with 
his fleet to bar the entrance to the bay. 

The American vessels engage the two remain 
ing battle-ships. There is no sea - room for 
manosuvring, and the rapid way in which the 
Yankee guns are served shows that they are 
more than a match for their huge enemies. 
The cruisers have closed in for the death-strug 
gle; every weapon of modern warfare is being 
employed; two ships of the foe and one of his 
opponent's have been torpedoed, and in an 
other moment one of ours rams their biggest 
battle-ship. The General on shore can almost 
hear the command, " Prepare to ram." It is 
so quickly and skilfully executed. The forts 
have now become inactive, fearing to fire lest by 
chance one of their own ships might be struck. 


The enemy suddenly begins to retreat, leav 
ing two of his ships on the rocks, while an 
other is forced to strike the white flag. 

Night has come on. The sun has an hour ago 
gone below the western horizon. The evening 
fog-bank comes in and mingles with the bat 
tle smoke about the silent batteries, which only 
a short time before were the scene of bloodshed 
and war. The brave defenders may sleep in 
peace in their blankets and hammocks. The 
pride of the enemy has been humbled, and the 
beautiful city of San Francisco is safe from 
torch and shell. 


A Hard-won Victory 

" A LL hands to muster !" rang out from the 
I\ harsh throats of the boatswain's mates 
of the American cruiser, and the crew came 
tumbling aft to the quarter-deck. They were 
as fine-looking a set of bluejackets as one would 
care to see, the cream of the navy and the naval 

The new ship was cruising off the coast of 
Great Britain for the purpose of intercepting 
a Japanese war-vessel, which was known to have 
recently left England, and was on the way to 
join her sister ships in her own country. 

Every one aboard the American ship was 
wild to meet the enemy, and the crew had no 
fear of the result. 

The lookout had just reported smoke to the 
eastward, from which direction the enemy was 

expected. When all hands were " up and aft," 


the Captain addressed his men upon the im 
pending conflict. 

" Men," he said, " we are here to fight the 
most formidable of our enemy's cruisers. She 
is equal to us in every respect. There are no 
chances in our favor. The battle will depend 
upon your coolness and courage. 

" Men of the main battery, upon you depends 
the result of the action. Your target is the 
armored sides and turrets. 

" Men of the secondary battery, your nerve 
and endurance are to be put to the crucial test. 
Your guns must be directed at the unannored 
gun parts and torpedo tubes. 

" Remember, all of you, a lucky shot may 
turn the tide of battle. 

" Officers and men, the reputation of our new 
ship depends on you." 

A few minutes later the Captain and the 
executive officers are upon the forward bridge, 
discussing the minor details of the plan of 
action, and casting keen glances at the low 
line of black smoke on the eastern horizon. 

The former is a fine-looking young officer, 
who has been rapidly advanced to commanding 
rank through his zeal and untiring labors to 
perfect the navy of his country. 

Many an article from his pen on the manage- 


ment of a ship in battle has been published in 
the scientific papers of America; but now he 
must put his theories to test to learn by expe 
rience, bitter or sweet, whether he merited the 
commendation which his numerous articles on 
naval science have won for him. 

The ship has been cruising about in wait for 
her prey for over a week. The crew have had 
incessant drill and sub-calibre target practice. 
The plan of attack has been discussed so often 
that it is known by all the officers. 

The ship is " cleared for action." Every 
stanchion and boat-davit has been lashed to the 
deck. Every movable object on the deck below 
has been sent to the protective-deck to avoid, as 
far as possible, the danger from flying splinters. 

The smoke on the horizon has approached, 
until now it is seen from the top to come from 
two smoke-pipes framed by something that looks 
suspiciously like two military fighting-masts. 

The crew are gathered on the forecastle. The 
enemy is now in sight, and the Captain's glass 
is upon her. A careful scrutiny shows her to 
be a war-vessel similar in appearance to his own. 
At a sign from him the drummer beats to " quar 
ters." This sound calls every man to some 
station. The Captain goes to the conning-tower, 

a small heavily armored turret beneath the 


bridge. An aid enters with him to steer the 
ship by his direction from the wheel within. 
A small opening near the top gives the occii- 
pants a view around the horizon, and numerous 
speaking-tubes and telephones put them in com 
munication with all the vital parts of the ship. 
Crews of twelve men each enter the turrets in 
charge of an officer. Steam is turned on the 
turret - engines. The guns on the deck below 
are divided between two divisions of men, each 
division in charge of a lieutenant, who has an 
ensign and midshipman as assistants. 

The men are stripped to the waist, and their 
guns are ready for battle; division tubs are 
filled with water, and the decks are covered with 
sand. On the berth-deck hatches and scuttles 
are opened, tackles are hooked, and men are 
hoisting powder and shell for the battery. 

The torpedo-crews are charging their deadly 
weapons with compressed-air. Below the pro 
tective-deck are half -naked men in the magazines 
and shell-rooms, handling the missiles that are 
soon to speed towards the approaching enemy. 

Down in the depths of the steel hull the fire 
men feed the mighty furnaces to a white heat. 
It is all the same to them now as when the 
monsters are engaged in a death-struggle. The 
sounds of the discharges, of the explosion of 


shells, and the cries of the wounded will be 
too distant and muffled to give them an idea 
of what is going on in the world above them. 
The first news will come when the terrible tor 
pedo explodes against the ship, sending them to 
a. watery grave, or the merciless ram sinks into 
the sides, or when a heavy shell penetrates one 
of the huge boilers, dooming all hands in the 
terriffic explosion that will follow. 

The stranger has altered her course and is 
steaming in the direction of the cruiser. There 
are her two military masts, but no flag as yet to 
show her nationality. Suddenly something flut 
ters from her mast-head. It is the flag of Eng 
land! There is no time now to consider what 
must be done. The ships are but five miles 
apart, steaming for each other at twenty-knot 
speed. One minute more and the cruisers will 
be within battle-range. 

The Captain is a man of quick judgment, and 
his mind is made up in an instant. 

From his point of vantage on the bridge he 
takes a careful look at the stranger and then 
at a drawing furnished by the Navy Depart 
ment. It is the same vessel ; yet why should 
she be cleared for action if a British cruiser ? 

Starboard ! 

The ship swings around in answer to her 


helm, and is heading perpendicularly to the 
course of the stranger. 

Two midshipmen stationed at the range- 
finders are pointing the delicate instruments 
towards the approaching ship. Dials at 
each gun automatically show that the dis 
tance is rapidly diminishing. The marines 
have taken their rifles to the superstructure- 
deck, and are crouching behind a breastwork 
constructed of closely lashed hammocks. The 
doctors have removed their medicines and in 
struments to the ward-room, and the long mess- 
tables are in readiness to receive the dead and 
wounded. The chief quartermaster stands ready 
aft with a spare ensign to hoist over the ship 
should his country's flag be shot away. 

When the ranger-finder registers three and 
a half miles the Captain orders the forward 
turret to fire at the stranger. The air is rent 
immediately by the blast of the discharge. 

The crew wait breathlessly while the shells 
reach the height of their trajectories. One 
strikes the sea short, while the other strikes the 
stranger and explodes. 

The irrevocable step is taken. England's 
flag has been fired upon. 

All hands wait to see what the stranger will 

do. The range-finder shows three miles. 


A brown mist shoots from the stranger's for 
ward turret; at the same time the British flag 
is hauled down, and the flag of Japan floats 
defiance in its stead. Two 10-inch shells fall 
but a few yards short of the cruiser, and a mo 
ment later the sound of the discharge reaches 
the ears of her crew. 

Two and a half miles registers the range- 
finder, and all the officers are directed to open 
fire. Shot after shot belches forth from the 
cruiser's broadside and speeds toward the 
enemy, exploding against her armor and top- 

As yet tne American ship has not been hit, 
but now the vapor from the enemy's smoke 
less powder shoots from the muzzles of a score 
of guns not two thousand yards away, and 
two tons of steel are launched on their deadly 

The havoc aboard the cruiser will never be 
forgotten. The armor is pierced, the topsides 
are riddled. The carnage among the unpro 
tected men on the gun-deck and superstructure 
is awful. But worst of all, many men not 
wounded by shot and shell are laid insensible by 
some unseen power. 

Skulonite is the word that passes from lip 
to lip. The poisonous gas is the aftermath of 



the explosion of shells loaded with this deadly 

The men are carried from compartments 
filled with the vapor, and the air-tight doors are 
closed to prevent the spreading of the noxious 
fumes to the magazines and engine-rooms. 

The cruisers are now but fifteen hundred 
yards apart, steaming in opposite directions. 
As they circle about one another like mighty 
birds of prey they are fast approaching within 
range at which a new weapon will be launched 
against the other's steel hull, the silent but re 
lentless torpedo. Then the ram will soon crash 
through one of the cruisers. Which will it be ? 

The American fire is becoming more desul 
tory as the crew of one gun after another suc 
cumbs to the terrible influence of the skulonite. 

Suddenly a steel fishlike weapon is seen shoot 
ing from the enemy's side. The Captain of the 
cruiser watches with breathless anxiety the line 
of bubbles on the water's surface, as the tor 
pedo approaches his ship at a terrific speed. 
It suddenly swerves, and goes but a few yards 
clear of her stern. 

The cruiser's breast-torpedo is launched at 
the enemy. With a splash it leaps from her 
side and speeds on its errand of destruction. 

The bubbles in its wake show the aim is good. 


It must strike. But no, it has gone under the 
enemy's ram. 

What is that hazy line to windward, but half 
a mile distant? It is a most welcome sight to 
the brave man in the conning-tower, and he 
heads his crippled ship for the oncoming mist. 
Soon she is swallowed up in the dense fog-bank, 
and shut out from her enemy's view. 

The enemy gives chase, as the American com 
mander had expected. He turns the trumpet 
of his sound-detector in the direction of the 
pursuing vessel, and from its dial ascertains 
her course. 

The enemy is still firing, but the American 
guns have ceased to roar, and " silence fore and 
aft " is commanded of the crew. The fleeing 
ship goes on until her Captain is sure that his 
foe has entered the fog, then the helm is put 
hard over, and the ship swings around until 
the instrument indicates that the other is dead 

Again the Captain is hopeful of success, as 
he realizes that the enshrouding mist and the 
instrument before him turn the advantage in 
his favor. His eye is fixed on the pointer of 
the dial, ever responsive to the electric current 
set up by the sound-waves beating upon the 

sensitive diaphragm in the trumpet. The ship 


leaps forward until he hears through the ear 
piece the throh of the enemy's engines. His 
heart beats fast, hut he knows that he must he 
self -controlled. 

The ships are coming together bows on. The 
American commander causes his ship to swing 
to starboard a little, so as to point her bow away 
from the approaching enemy. 

The instant for action has come. He star 
boards his helm in order to lay his ship across 
the course of the enemy. " Prepare to ram " 
is telephoned by the aide at his side. The ship 
swings around. The pointer swerves from the 
direction of her starboard bow to dead ahead. 
Has he been too late ? Will he pass across her 
wake, or will he cross her path in time to re 
ceive her ram prow in his own broadside ? The 
needle points ahead when the huge side of the 
enemy looms up through the fog. 

In a moment, with a terrific shock, the ram 
bow of the American cruiser enters the side of 
the enemy, cleaving armor and deck-plating as 
though it were wood. 

Slowly the victor backs off from her sinking 

The rammed ship commences to deliver 
death-dealing shots ; but she is fast sinking. 

She can no longer elevate her guns enough 


to strike the American. She has heeled too far. 
The firing ceases. 

All the boats that are not disabled are manned 
and ready to render assistance to the, vanquished. 

~Not a moment too soon. The ill-fated ship 
heels to starboard, her stern rising high in the 
air, her screws thrashing the fog in their up 
ward flight, the flag under which her brave de 
fenders had so well fought still waving at her 
trucks, and she slowly sinks beneath the waves, 
sending up columns of water from her hatch 
ways, and engulfing her crew in the mighty 

But few survivors were saved of the few hun 
dred that had had victory so nearly in their 



How the North Atlantic Squadron Met the Enemy 

ON a morning in June, 19 , the North 
Atlantic Squadron is seen steaming out 
of New York Harbor. It passes the batteries 
on Sandy Hook, and stands out to sea. The 
white paint that was wont to glisten in the 
summer sunshine has given place to a dull gray 
that makes the mighty engines of war look even 
more formidable. 

Every ship is cleared for action. Boat davits, 
awning stanchions, and every movable thing 
have been removed out of the train of the big 
guns. But few boats can be seen on their 
cradles. The first six ships in the column are 
huge first-class battle-ships, their turrets loom 
ing up ominously with their heavy guns. Fol 
lowing this magnificent array of guns and armor 
are four first-class cruisers, their graceful curves 
making the battle-ships look all the more for- 


midable by comparison. Ten swift - moving 
torpedo-boats are steaming along by the side 
of their big sisters, their every move showing 
their impatience at being kept at so low a 

Standing on the superstructure of one of the 
battle-ships, whose fortunes we will follow, is 
a young officer. The gold anchor on the collar 
of his blue service coat shows he is at the foot 
of that long ladder of rank of which Admiral 
is the top rung. He is leaning against the 
hammock-meetings; one hand is resting upon 
the stock of a rapid-firing gun, and in the other 
he holds a pair of binocles, through which he 
has just been looking. What are his thoughts 
as he gazes wistfully to the eastward, then at 
the great hull ahead of him, and again at the 
vessels that follow in his wake? Is he only 
regretting that the happy life of the great 
metropolis is to be denied him for a few months, 
and that now hard work and plenty of drills 
will take the place of the rounds of gayety 
incidental to a life in New York? ~Nol His 
thoughts are upon far more serious subjects; 
they are of war cruel, pitiless war, with a 
nation the equal, if not the superior, in naval 
prowess of the United States. 

But two short hours ago a carrier-pigeon had 


fluttered down to its cote on the flag-ship with 
the thrilling information from one of the scouts 
that the long-looked-for but unwelcome fleet of 
the enemy had been sighted, bearing down in 
force on the greatest and richest city on the 
American continent. 

The forts, with the aid of the ships, were 
considered strong enough to repulse the on 
slaught of the enemy's fleet off the entrance to 
the harbor; but it was deemed better to cripple 
the antagonists in a great battle at sea. The 
Admiral felt confident that his force was as 
powerful as any the enemy could send, and was 
anxious to test his ships and the courage of his 
men in a great sea-fight off the Hook. 

Over two weeks have passed since the Am 
bassador of the enemy had been given his pass 
ports and had sailed for home ; but so far apart 
were the belligerent countries that no hostilities 
had taken place. 

The news of the sailing of a fleet had flashed 
across the wires between the two continents, but 
so secretly had the preparations been made 
that the agents of the United States had failed 
to find out the number and force of the ex 
pedition. Scouts in the shape of fast cruisers 
have been scouring the seas along the Atlantic 
seaboard ever since war had been declared; 

5 51 


their duty was to find out the number and force 
of the enemy, and to report by carrier-pigeon 
to the Admiral; but until now nothing has 
broken the monotony of their patrol. The tele 
graph flashed the news to Washington and all 
over the country. The ships at Newport and 
at Hampton Roads were at once ordered to 
the scene of the impending conflict. At the 
first warning that the country might be en 
gulfed in a mighty struggle with a powerful 
nation all the serviceable ships on foreign sta 
tion, in so far as was possible, were ordered 
home with despatch, and now, on the day of the 
first trial of strength, the United States had 
amassed a large number of ships on its more 
important coast, where, on account of the dis 
tance from the resources of the enemy, would 
be the first point of attack. 

Smoke on the port bow of the leading ship is 
soon made out to come from the Newport squad 
ron, hastening to join the New York fleet. By 
noon the ships from Hampton Roads have added 
their guns to the others. 

Slowly the big fleet moves eastward. Soon 
a scout is made out bearing down on the ad 
vancing column. A torpedo-boat goes out to 
meet her, returning with a message to the Ad 
miral, telling of the latest movements of the 


enemy, the scout returning to its vigil near the 
intruding fleet. 

The smoke of three vessels is made out about 
sunset to the eastward. The intelligence is soon 
signalled to the entire fleet. If it is the advance- 
guard of the enemy, will it force a night en 
gagement? A modern battle under a bright 
sun is uncertain and horrible enough, but what 
will it be when the blackness of the night lends 
more horror to the terrible struggle, and leads 
to mistaking friend for foe ? But an hour dis 
pels any such dread. A fast cruiser is made out, 
her blistered smoke-stack showing the mighty 
effort her boilers have made to help her escape 
the enemy, and but a short distance astern of 
her are two of the enemy's cruisers just giving 
up the chase ; and none too soon, for two Ameri 
can ships have been signalled to follow the 
baffled cruisers, and their rams are cutting the 
water at full speed in obedience to the signal. 
Night settles down over this powerful display 
of human handicraft. The crews of all the 
guns are near their stations, to be on hand at 
a moment's notice. But few eyes close in sleep. 
How many could on the brink of such an awful 
ordeal as a first battle? The squadron has 
slowed to steerage way, and the torpedo-boats 
are patrolling for fear one of their foreign 


sisters will steal, under cover of the night, upon 
the almost motionless fleet, and render a good 
account of its missiles of war. The sentries 
and lookouts on the big ships are peering 
through the darkness in dreaded anticipation of 
seeing a black hull, small but terrible, loom up 
out of the night but a few hundred yards away. 
No lights are visible on the ships, and so dark 
is the night that the huge gray hulls can scarce 
ly be seen from one another. The search-lights 
are ready to be used at an instant's notice, and 
the rapid-fire and machine guns are as vigilant 
as the sentries. 

More scouts join the squadron during the 
night, bringing information as to the movements 
and strength of the enemy. The pursuing 
cruisers are the last to join, having been enabled, 
by their superior speed, to hover about the ene 
my almost all night. The enemy is reported to 
be forty miles to the eastward, steaming at the 
rate of nine knots an hour. Early morn, then, 
will bring the two fleets within battle - range. 
Many eyes are now scanning the horizon for the 
first evidence of the oncoming flotilla. Slowly 
the thin streak of dawn on the eastern horizon 
widens and spreads over the sky. 

"Sail ho!" 

It comes from the foretop of the flag-ship, 


and very soon the smoke of the advancing fleet 
can be seen stretching for a long length over 
the eastern horizon. 

Bright-colored flags are run up on the flag 
ship. It is the signal for general quarters, and 
the drums throughout the fleet can be heard 
beating the roll. The decks of the ships are now 
a scene that would thrill the coldest heart. 
Men are hurrying here and there, casting off 
lashings, carrying powder and shell, and mak 
ing the final preparations for a great battle. In 
an incredibly short time the crews are standing 
at their posts, everything is in readiness, buckets 
of water are at hand at the guns, the fire hose, 
like a huge serpent, is stretched over the sanded 

Inside the turrets, the men are stripped to the 
waist, their brawny muscles tense in the strain 
of suspense. The officers are at their posts, in 
their dark-blue uniforms, sometimes showing 
the nervousness of suspense, but alert and ready. 

In the forward 13-inch turret of the battle 
ship stands our young lieutenant, and by his side 
his assistant, a young naval cadet, almost fresh 
from the Academy. Their only duty will be 
to fight the pair of guns, and hurl the half-ton 
shells as accurately and as rapidly as possible. 

The officers in the magazines are at their 


stations on the platforms. During the engage 
ment they will encourage the men and super 
intend as rapid a supply of ammunition as 
the gunners will need. The officers and men 
in the engine and fire room are working earnest 
ly, getting the pressure in the mighty boilers to 
a limit that has never been reached since their 
trial trips. The progress of the fight is not 
their concern. They will work on, seeing noth 
ing but the glare of the white-hot coals as the 
doors are opened to feed the furnaces, and the 
wonderfully made engines forcing the propel 
lers at a speed scarcely seen before. 

To them the muffled sounds from the world 
above will be the only indications of the bat 
tle that is raging over their heads. In their 
safety behind armor and below the water-line 
they will be spared the sight of blood and from 
seeing the mangled remnants of their friends 
and shipmates. But still their courage and 
nerve will be tested severely; they will not 
know at what moment a torpedo, or the ram of 
an enemy's ship, or even a well-directed shell, 
will take them all, like rats in a trap, many 
fathoms down into the ocean, the ship they have 
served so faithfully forming an honorable tomb 
for its brave defenders. 

Very soon the smoke sighted is made out to 


be from some of the enemy's scouts; they have 
turned about, and are retiring before the slow 
ly advancing Americans. 

The sun is now a half-hour high, hanging 
like a ball of molten metal only a short dis 
tance above the horizon, and its reflection in 
the placid ocean is as bright as itself. 

Providence has thrown a heavy weight into 
the balance against the defending fleet; its gun 
ners will fight with the sun in their eyes. The 
American sailors are not long in finding this 
out, and many a rough voice in turret or behind 
shield is heard raised in condemnation of their 

The sun is scarcely an hour high when the 
whole of the invading fleet is in sight. A grand 
spectacle it makes to the American Admiral as, 
with a face flushed with pride, he gazes on an 
enemy worthy of his steel. 

Very heavy responsibilities will rest upon 
his shoulders this day. On his judgment will 
hang the fate of this magnificent fleet. His 
orders will be obeyed implicitly. ~No questions 
will be asked by commanding officers. Their 
duty will be, like the " six hundred " at Bala- 
klava, " to do or die," and, if his judgment is 
in error, it may be both. 

The opposing fleet is in double line, stretch- 


ing nearly two miles along the eastern horizon. 
The glass reveals the battle-ships, eight mon 
strous hulls, forming the leading line, while 
behind them are as many fast armored cruisers, 
while still farther to the eastward hover a 
number of smaller cruisers and torpedo-boats. 

The American squadron has now formed in 
echelon, and in beautiful order ; each ship, keep 
ing her distance as if on drill, is heading for 
the enemy's fleet. In the line of battle the Ad 
miral has placed his most powerful fighting- 
ships, and in this it seems the tacticians of 
both the belligerent countries have agreed. 
First in the column are the battle-ships, and 
then follow six armored cruisers, the queens of 
the sea, with speed enough to refuse battle from 
any vessel afloat, but with guns powerful enough 
to penetrate the armor of most battle-ships. 

Nearer and nearer the two mighty powers ap 
proach the distance when the thunder of ord 
nance and the destruction by the steel missiles 
will convert this beautiful sight into a bloody 
battle-field. The officers in the forward turret 
of our battle-ship are standing, all expectant, 
at their guns. The lieutenant is at his station 
on the platform, reversing-lever in hand, mov 
ing it but a little at a time as his ship forges 
ahead, thus swinging the great turret around 


so as to keep one of the enemy in his sights. 
In his other hand he holds the electric key, the 
pressure of which will hurl the contents of both 
guns on their mission of war. 

The naval cadet is on the platform on the 
other side from his superior officer; his duty 
on the turret floor is over for the present, until 
the death-dealing shells on the floor of the tur 
ret have been sent on their flight toward the 
enemy, making room for more from the maga 
zine below. They see, through the narrow 
apertures in the solid steel, the fierce-looking 
black hulls of the foreign ships steaming rapid 
ly forward as if unconscious that a fleet equally 
as powerful is directly in front of them, ready 
to dispute every, inch of the watery waste be 
tween there and the coveted Hook. A signal 
is hoisted on the flag-ship and quickly hauled 
down, and the next minute the formation of 
the American squadron has been changed to 
column, and is heading to attack the left flank 
of the oncoming fleet. The speaking-tube at 
the side of the younger officer tells him the 
range 6000 yards. The minutes drag by. 
The gap between the belligerents is minutely 
decreasing. The sight - bars are set at 5500 
yards, extreme range, yet no gun speaks to 

break the monotone of the peaceful scene. 


The officers' eyes are glued to the flank ships, 
momentarily expecting, almost wishing, to see 
the bright flash followed by the loud roar that 
will break the strain. Suddenly the enemy's 
helms are put to port. Each ship changes her 
course eight points to starboard, and, in two 
long columns, appears to be running away 
from the advancing Americans. A cry of sur 
prise and indignation escapes the younger of 
ficer as he sees this manoeuvre. But the other, 
who is a keener tactician, quickly sees through 
the strategic move and tells his aid. 

The ruse is to trap the American squadron 
to at once starboard its helm and follow in 
chase, thus giving the enemy the advantage of 

What will the American Admiral do ? There 
are able tacticians about him to give advice. 
The long column of dull-gray hulls keeps its 
course. On it goes, while on the port bow is 
the retreating enemy. Slowly the bearing of 
the opposing fleet draws aft. It is now on the 

Crash! The leading ship has opened fire. 
Trembling with the excitement felt by all 
at the commencement of an engagement, the 
men in the turret peer through the apertures 
to see the effect. A large column of water 


near the last ship shows that the aim was 

Slowly the 13-inch turret of our battle-ship 
swings about in the direction of the rear ship 
of the enemy. The target is now near to the 
line of sight. The key itches in the hands of 
the lieutenant; a slight pressure will hurl the 
contents of those two wicked cylinders on their 
deadly errand. The turret is motionless for 
a moment. As the ship steams ahead she brings 
her enemy in the sights ; the next moment the 
turret is filled with the mighty concussion of 
the discharge, and a ton of steel has crashed 
through one of the enemy's battle-ships, leaving 
death and destruction in its path. 

Slowly the retreating enemy draws abaft the 
beam. The two fleets seem to be running away 
from each other. 

Signals are run up on the flag-ship, and the 
American fleet has, a. minute afterwards, turned 
to port, and, in as beautiful a line as a tactician 
would wish to see, is steering in chase. 

The Admiral has been prompt to take the ad 
vantage offered by the manoauvres of the op 
posing fleet, and the signal to concentrate the 
fire on the rear vessels of the enemy is quickly 

The heavy roar of the great guns, and the 


quick, sharp reports of the rapid - fire guns, 
lend additional color to this mighty struggle of 
skill and strength. 

The enemy has formed column, and now ex 
ecutes head of column left turn. One after 
another the invading ships bring their broad 
sides to bear on the fast-approaching line. 

Shell after shell goes screeching on its way 
to pierce armor and slaughter human beings in 
this game called war. 

Fast and furious becomes the fire of the 
enemy, and terrible is the execution on board 
the American ships. 

The foreign Admiral sees he has been check 
mated, and it will cost him dear, for the Ameri 
can line will charge through his fleet, leaving 
destruction in its path. He is powerless to pre 
vent it. All that is left him now is to do as 
much damage as possible before his column is 
broken. Nearer and nearer the two fleets come 
together. Some of the black hulls have headed 
about and are ready to receive, bows on, the im 
pending charge. Others are fleeing from the 
scene of the unavoidable catastrophe. Still the 
two fleets keep up a murderous fire, and an oc 
casional torpedo is fired, as is shown by the line 
of bubbles, going harmlessly between the ap 
proaching gray ships. 



There is no smoke to hide the dreadful scene 
from the eyes of the remnants of the two fleets. 
Five of the enemy and two of the Americans 
have sunk beneath the waves with terrible 
wounds in their sides. The fight has now 
become general. The formation of the fleets 
has been broken. Every ship is fighting for 
itself. The cruisers and torpedo-boats of each 
belligerent move up from their stations in the 
reserve line and join in the engagement, render 
ing assistance to their disabled ships. Our 
battle-ship has engaged with a battle-ship of 
equal armor and armament, and theirs is a 
bloody struggle. The flag-ship is fighting at 
close quarters with the enemy's flag-ship. The 
fight rages on. Now and then a white flag ap 
pears on one of the ships, and the firing ceases 
in that quarter. A number on both sides have 
been sacrificed by the ram and torpedo. The 
enemy's flag - ship, in a disabled condition, is 
steering away from the scene of her defeat. 
The remaining black ships that have not fallen 
into the hands of the Americans follow, firing 
as they withdraw. 

The American Admiral has hoisted the sig 
nal to retire, and the fleet is heading from the 
retreating enemy. When night again comes on 
the fight is a thing of the past. The battle- 



scarred gray hulls are at anchor inside the Hook, 
while one hundred miles to the eastward a fleet 
is slowly wending its way towards the port it 
had left with so much confidence only ten days 

A Ship of the Air 

IT was a bright and beautiful morning in 
June, 1927. The war between Venezuela and 
England had been in progress just three weeks, 
and every one was wondering why the big 
monarchy had not whipped the little republic 
off the face of the earth. But the resources 
of the South-American country had been un 
derestimated, and so had the immense difficul 
ties which confronted England in her endeavor 
to carry on an offensive war at an almost in 
accessible distance from her most trustworthy 
sources of supplies, and in a climate which 
was formidable to her men. She had succeeded 
in landing a small force of trained soldiers, 
fresh from her latest campaign against the 
Ameer of Afghanistan, who had set up a new 
boundary-line beyond Herat, and was, conse- 


quently, in hot water with both England and 

These trained Indian curry-eaters had pene 
trated a vast forest in the interior and had never 
come out, and it was currently reported that 
half of them had perished in a swamp, and the 
other half had been destroyed by fevers and 

A strong fleet, under command of Vice- 
Admiral Sir Wallace Bruce, had been scattered 
by adverse winds, and two of the ships had 
fallen in with powerful Venezuelan armor-clads, 
and had been most impertinently sent to the 
bottom. Others had sunk three Venezuelan 
war-ships, but the little republic had three bet 
ter ones afloat inside of a week, and experts 
said that they looked very French. 

The war had broken out over England's high 
handed occupation of an insignificant island 
off the Venezuelan coast. The Venezuelans had 
been amazed by the proceeding, but the Marquis 
of Wintergreen, the Foreign Secretary, had at 
once declared that the island had been con 
quered and attached to England by Sir Francis 
Drake in the course of his first voyage to the 
West Indies. As Mr. Froude and other Eng 
lish historians had proved that Drake was little 
better than a pirate, this made every one laugh, 



except the Venezuelans, who said they were 
going to fight ; and they did. 

As soon as war was declared, the President 
of the United States, on the advice of the Sec 
retary of State, called an extra session of Con 
gress, and the legislative halls at Washington 
so rang with patriotic speeches about the Mon 
roe Doctrine that certain New York newspapers 
got out extras every two hours, day and night, 
and had illuminated bulletins covering the en 
tire front of the building. Congress at length 
declared that the United States must act as an 
ally of Venezuela, whereupon one paper printed 
itself in red, white, and blue, and another de 
spatched correspondents by special balloon to 
South America. The President ordered the en 
tire National Guard into the service of the 
United States, and the various regiments at 
once repaired to their camps of instruction and 
began field drills. It was expected that they 
would be fully equipped and prepared for ser 
vice at the front in about two months. The 
naval militia was also ordered out, and im 
mediately began a series of cruises alongshore 
in open boats, landing and sending signals in 
every direction every four hours. The officers 
clamored for coast-defence vessels to man, but 
there were only four such ships, and they were 
6 67 


all in dry-docks undergoing repairs that would 
take three months to complete. The Secretary 
of the Navy issued orders to the Admiral to 
get the North and South Atlantic squadrons to 
the Venezuelan coast as quickly as possible, and 
the Admiral answered that he would be ready 
to sail by the end of August. 

As soon as the action of Congress had been 
taken, Harry Borden, of Tickle Kiver, went 
by express train to Washington. In the ob 
scure sea-coast village of Tickle River Harry 
was called a genius, and it was said that he had 
invented things which would be worth millions 
to the government in such an emergency as 
that which had now arisen. It was to lay before 
the Secretary of War one of these inventions 
that the young man had gone to the capital. 
He had exhibited a small working-model of 
his contrivance to several wealthy men of his 
native State, and they had forthwith invested 
enough money in it to enable the young inventor 
to build a full-fledged machine, and to go to see 
the Secretary about its employment in the im 
pending conflict. Harry Borden was a good 
talker, but he could not talk the government of 
the United States into prompt action. 

" My young friend," said the Secretary, " I 
am sure that your invention will prove of in- 


estimable value to the United States in time of 

" It's the time of war now, isn't it ?" said 

" Yes, yes, to be sure ; but this is a matter 
which must be laid before Congress, and a bill 
must be introduced regarding it. I should ad 
vise you to see the Congressman from your 
district about that. I will give you a letter to 
him saying that I heartily approve of your ma 

" But, sir, while all this is going on we are 
losing valuable time. My machine ought to be 
down there damaging the enemy." 

"But you must allow things to take their 


" Why can't you give me permission to go 
ahead on my own hook ?" 

" Embark in private warfare ? Privateering 
is out of date, my young friend. But, ah 
urn I may say that ah if you should go 
down there and succeed in inflicting serious 
damage on the British fleet, I think mind, I 
say only that I think the government would 
ignore the irregularity of the proceeding." 

" That's enough for me," said Harry, spring 
ing to his feet. " If my backers will consent, 
I'll be there in less than a week ; and, mark my 

word, sir, you'll hear of my machine down there, 


And before the astonished Secretary could 
say more, Harry Borden had bounded from the 

The British cruiser Ajax HI. was steaming 
at a speed of ten knots through the blue waters 
of the Caribbean Sea. She had been carrying 
certain despatches of grave importance from 
Vice-Admiral Sir Wallace Bruce to the Gov 
ernor of Jamaica, and was now returning in a 
leisurely manner, which told of economy in the 
coal department. The Ajax III. was an armor 
ed cruiser of about 6000 tons. She carried 
armor eight inches thick on her sides, and had a 
steel protective deck four inches thick. Her 
main battery consisted of four improved Smith- 
Dodge-Hopkins 8-inch rapid-firing breech-load 
ers, capable of discharging four of the new 
steel-iridium conical projectiles every minute, 
with a point-blank range of two miles, and an 
initial velocity of 3000 feet per second. Her 
secondary battery consisted of six 4-inch re 
volving guns, discharging seventy shells a min 
ute when operated by electricity. The cruiser 
had the new compound quintuple engines, ca 
pable of driving her twenty-six knots an hour 


under forced draught. On the whole, she was 
regarded as a fairly efficient vessel, though some 
of the leading British critics declared that she 
belonged to a type that was fast becoming ob 

She was moving gently and steadily through 
the water. The sun was shining brightly, and 
its gleaming rays made sparkling light along 
the cruiser's polished brass - work and on the 
brown chases of her long slender guns. Captain 
Dudley Fawkes was pacing the after-bridge in 
conversation with his executive officer, Com 
mander Bilton-Brooks, and Lieutenant Sir Ed 
ward Avon was the officer of the watch on the 
main bridge. 

" I don't believe," said Captain Fawkes, 
" that the United States means seriously to take 
a hand in this fight." 

" I don't know about that," responded Com 
mander Bilton-Brooks. " Congress has taken 
action, and the President has called out troops." 

" True enough," rejoined the Captain, " but 
that does not necessarily mean anything. You 
know the navy must be the aggressive force, 
and we have yet to see an American ship afloat 
in these waters." 

" That is quite true," said the executive 
officer; "yet, for the life of me, I can't help 


feeling that there is mischief of some sort in 
the air." 

The executive officer's words were more 
nearly correct than even he suspected, for at 
that very instant the two lookouts in the fore- 
top were puzzling their eyes and brains to make 
out a strange object which had appeared on the 
lee beam. While they were watching it, it 
dropped from the air, where it had seemed to 
be floating, and rested on the bosom of the sea, 
where it presently resolved itself into a cutter- 
yacht some sixty feet in length. 

" It were a bloomin' mirage, Bill," said one 
lookout to the other, as he lifted his voice and 
bawled, "Sail ho!" 

" Where away ?" came the quick demand 
from the bridge. 

" On our lee beam, sir," answered the man. 
" Looks like a cutter-yacht, sir." 

ISTow in the year 1927 a cutter -yacht was 
something of a curiosity, for electricity had sup 
planted sail power for small craft, and vessels 
propelled by canvas were rare indeed. The 
cutter-yacht seen from the decks of the Ajax 
III. was on the port tack, close hauled and 
heading so as to intercept the cruiser's course, 
provided she had speed enough, which was 

wholly unlikely. She was under full canvas, 



and, though the breeze was very light, she slip 
ped through the smooth water at an amazing 
speed. This fact dawned on the minds of the 
Captain and his executive officer at the same 

" She must have an auxiliary electric screw," 
said Commander Bilton-Brooks. 

" I fancy so," said the Captain. " Owned 
by some fellow who likes to think he's sailing, 
but has no patience with light breezes. It's 
rather curious, though, that he should be cruis 
ing in these waters at a time like this, isn't it ?" 

" It certainly is," answered the executive 
officer. " I don't see any flag do you, sir ?" 

" ~No. I rather fancy I shall have to over 
haul this yacht and make her skipper give an 
account of her. There's a mysterious air about 
her that I don't half like." 

But it was a good deal easier to talk about 
overhauling the cutter than it was to do it. The 
yacht's sails, which were made of some extreme 
ly light material, like Chinese silk in appear 
ance, were drawing powerfully, and her electric 
motor if it really was electric was doing as 
tounding work. The yacht flashed through the 
water like some great fish, and so fine were her 
lines that she left hardly a bubble in her wake. 
The Captain of the Ajax III. gave orders to in- 


crease the speed of the cruiser, and presently 
the quick throbbing of her engines and the 
vibrations of her hull told that she was tearing 
across the long swells at a 25-knot speed. But 
still the cutter-yacht flew along, and it was evi 
dent that she would pass across the cruiser's bow 
if both held their courses. 

" We must stop her," said Captain Dudley 
Fawkes, and he gave orders to sound the call to 
quarters. The bugle rang out, and the hearty 
British tars jumped to their stations. 

" Cast loose and provide !" ordered Com 
mander Bilton-Brooks. 

The ammunition hoists slipped noiselessly 
upward bearing the steel-iridium shells for the 
8-inch guns, and the electric chains hauled up 
the 70-pounders for the secondary battery. In 
forty-five seconds the ship was ready to fight, 
and the order was given to train all forward 
guns on the cutter and stand by for orders. 
Then the Captain and his executive officer turn 
ed their glasses once more on the cutter. 

" What on earth is she up to now ?" exclaim 
ed the Captain. 

" Taking in sail and spars, too !" cried Com 
mander Bilton-Brooks. 

It was true. Not only had the strange cutter 

let all her thin sails run down, but she seemed 


to have folded up her mast, boom, gaff, and 
bowsprit in some strange way and stowed them 
out of sight. 

"Has she shown any flag yet?" asked the 

" None that I have seen," answered the ex 
ecutive officer. 

" Then I'll wager a month's pay that she's 
some Yankee invention," declared Captain 
Dudley Fawkes. 

" What in the world are they doing now ?" 
said the executive officer. 

A strange misshapen mass was rising above 
the bulwarks of the cutter with surprising 

" It's a balloon !" exclaimed the Captain. 

" Hadn't we better open fire on her ?" asked 
the executive officer. 

"Not yet. I think we'd better get close 
enough to hail her first," answered the Cap 
tain. " She may not be anything more than 
a pleasure-craft, you know." 

The balloon was inflated by this time, and 
was tugging at the heavy steel hawsers by which 
it was attached to the cutter's hull. A cry of 
surprise broke from the crew of the British 

" Look ! look ! She's going up !" 


The great balloon, inflated with the newly 
discovered gas, mercurite, the lightest and most 
powerful of all known gases, was lifting the 
cutter bodily into the air. Her curiously shaped 
hull, modelled after a shark's body, and equip 
ped with a fin-keel for sailing on the wind, 
was now fully revealed. At the same instant 
a United States ensign was waved over her 
stern by a young man. 

" Mr. Cortis," called the Captain, who had 
not thought it necessary yet to enter the conning- 
tower, " give him a taste of your metal." 

" Ay, ay, sir," answered the Lieutenant in 
command of the forward 8-inch guns. 

The next instant there was a terrific con 
cussion, and one of the big shells went scream 
ing toward the cutter; but she was rising so 
fast that the projectile passed under her and 
plunged foaming into the sea a mile away. 

" More elevation, sir," cried the executive 

" Impossible !" answered Lieutenant Cortis ; 
"we're too close to her, and the angle is too 

" Look at her now !" exclaimed the Captain. 
" She's rushing towards us !" 

" Sailing against the wind with a balloon !" 

cried Commander Bilton-Brooks. 


The shark-bodied cutter, with her fin-keel 
below and her balloon above, was indeed now 
moving toward a position above the cruiser. 

" Call away the riflemen!" cried the Captain. 

The red - coated marines assembled on the 
superstructures, and began a rapid fire at the 
balloon, hoping to burst it. But their bullets 
simply glanced off the fine steel-netting with 
which it was protected. Now the head of the 
young man once again appeared above the bul 
warks of the strange machine, and he took a 
rapid glance at the British ship. The next 
instant a small port in the cutter's side opened, 
and from it dropped a glass globe about half the 
size of a football. The globe fell upon the 
forward deck of the cruiser. There was an ap 
palling explosion, and the whole forecastle of 
the Ajax III. became a hopeless wreck. An 
other globe was hurled with such fatal accuracy 
that it fell down one of the smoke-stacks of the 
now helpless vessel. There was a roar as of 
thunder away down in her engine-room, and 
pale-faced men poured on deck. 

" We're sinking ! The ship's bottom is blown 
out!" they cried. There was a wild rush to 
lower away the boats. A few minutes later 
the Ajax III. sank out of sight under the blue 
waters of the Caribbean Sea, and Harry Bor- 


den, with his balloon stowed and his canvas 
spread again, was sailing away with a few sur 
vivors of the ill-fated cruiser in his strange in 
vention in search of more British cruisers. A 
month later the war was over. 



How the "Calabria" was Captured 

THE officer of the deck is pacing his last 
hour of a very dull forenoon watch upon 
the bridge of an American cruiser. The trop 
ical sun beats down with unflinching savageness 
upon his head; his eyes are restlessly scanning 
the horizon at every turn, but nothing has dis 
turbed the monotony of its outline, as his sullen 
pacing bears witness. The sentries and men on 
lookout are at their stations, and are listlessly 
walking to and fro on the small patch of deck 
called their posts. Small knots of men are gath 
ered together here and there on the spar-deck, 
under the shade of a boat or a gun-shield, spin 
ning yarns or playing at sailor games. Some of 
the younger officers can be seen aft on the quar 
ter-deck gazing fixedly over the wide expanse of 
ocean, as if they expected an enemy to rise up 



before them from the sea. Some of the more 
impulsive ones occasionally lift their voices in 
expostulation at the dull life they are leading, 
while others are seeing active service on fighting- 
ships. The great hull of the cruiser is slowly 
forging ahead in the quiet sea; her huge and 
powerful engines are barely turning over. 

Like a picture in a kinetoscope, all this has 
changed. Every man on board has awakened 
from his lethargy. All hands are alert and gaz 
ing at the horizon to the eastward. What is the 
cause of this sudden awakening? Two words 
from the lookout in the foretop : " Sail ho !" 
Yes, broad on the port bow can be seen a low 
line of black smoke that to any but a sail 
or's eye would appear to be a cloud on the dis 
tant horizon. Scarcely a quarter of an hour, 
and with all speed the cruiser is cutting the 
sea in the direction of the fast - approaching 

Eager young officers have ascended into the 
tops to be the first to make out the character of 
the stranger. In the foretop are two midship 
men, still in their teens, classmates at the Naval 
Academy, and stanch friends. Scarcely a 
thought has one the other does not share. With 
that reckless ambition that is one of the at 
tributes of youth they are both longing for 


excitement. Their dreams of battle and glory 
have toppled like a castle of cards. 

As yet the American ship has seen no fight 
ing ; she has been doing the work cut out for her 
without bloodshed. Merchantman after mer 
chantman has been overhauled and captured or 
ransomed in the last six months, and the 
cruiser's name has become the terror of the 
enemy's merchant marine. 

Once only, while coming out of a neutral 
port, she had to run the gauntlet of two of 
the enemy's cruisers; but with her superior 
speed two hours sufficed to put the enemy hull 
down astern, with but slight damage to the com 
merce-destroyer. Her orders were, on the out 
break of the war, " to capture or destroy the 
enemy's commerce wherever met; refuse bat 
tle," and this order had been faithfully carried 
out. All hands had grown rich in prize-money ; 
fresh provisions were obtained in abundance. 

Coal was the problem. It had been attempted 
to coal at sea from captured vessels, but this 
mode could not be relied upon to replenish the 
bunkers of a ship with such a tremendous ex 
penditure. So a certain amount of risk had 
to be run in coaling in neutral ports. 

This vessel and her two sister ships were the 
prizes coveted by all the enemy's cruisers. 


When the United States was building them 
other nations laughed at the idea, and put their 
dock-yards at work building ships of greater 
armament but less speed. But now they saw 
the advantage of these beautiful toys, as the 
foreign press were wont to call them, that could 
give or refuse battle at pleasure. 

Ship after ship of the enemy's navy was in 
search of these " freebooters," but very few 
had even had the honor of coming within signal 
distance. One of these was the Whistle, a 
cruiser of a little heavier armament, but several 
knots less speed. The American was in the 
port of St. Thomas, coaling, when this warlike 
hull hove in sight, ^ r ery little time was lost in 
putting to sea, but not before two or three shots 
had been exchanged and some very taunting 
signals had been displayed by the disappointed 

All the officers and men would gladly have 
accepted battle, with but small fear of the re 
sult, but each and every one knew what awful 
odds would be on the Whistle's side. America 
had but a few ships ; if these were pitted against 
the navy of the enemy, they would be over 
whelmed, annihilated. No; the quickest way 
to humble the foe is through her commerce. So 
the bitter pill had to be swallowed in silence. 



But the mere thought of the occurrence brought 
a hot flush to the cheek of every man aboard. 

The stranger has drawn near, and is soon 
made out to be a merchantman, an ocean liner, 
one of the greyhounds that had plied between 
New York and Harborport before the outbreak 
of hostilities. Large volumes of black smoke 
from her immense smoke-pipes show she has 
scented danger and is making all speed to es 

The young officers in the foretop are thrilled 
with excitement as their glass shows them the 
character of the other ship. The younger is a 
boy of eighteen, his light hair and blue eyes 
betokening his Saxon ancestry. He is clad 
in a neat-fitting blue uniform, and his cap set 
jauntily on the back of his head revealed a mass 
of light curly locks. With his eyes fairly 
sparkling, he bears a striking contrast to his 
companion. Dark and sullen, with lowering 
eyes and heavy forehead, the other shows not 
by a single sign that he realizes that in a short 
time the first and long-cherished battle of his 
life will be enacted. 

The younger lad has dreamed of battles both 
in his sleep and in his waking moments, in which 
he has cut his way with his sword to honor and 

distinction. He has oftentimes pictured his 
7 83 


friends, his mother, and his sweetheart reading 
of his heroic deeds in the daily papers of his 
home, and now it seems to his youthful mind 
his dreams are to be fulfilled. 

As his glass scans the stranger, he realizes 
that in the eyes of naval experts the new comer 
is nearly equal to the American in fighting 
qualities. He knows that these fast ships have 
been subsidized by the hostile government, and 
are heavily armed and protected. His dreams 
fairly dance before his eyes. But another pict 
ure flashes across his mental vision. He is on 
the battery-deck ; the decks are wet and slippery 
with blood; the terribly mangled dead and 
wounded are lying all about him ; he sees brave 
men struck down around. A cold shiver runs 
through his well-knit frame as he shakes from 
him the ghastly nightmare. 

The other lad is not a dreamer. Morose, al 
most cynical, he never gives himself up to such 
reveries. To him everything appears in a less 
gilded light. He knows that if the stranger has 
not superior speed his services and his com 
panion's will soon be needed on the deck below. 

The two lads scramble down through the hol 
low mast as the drummers are beating the long 
roll to quarters. All during the hot, sultry day 
the chase continues, ai*d when night settles down 


on the watery waste the cruiser is still out of 
gun-shot astern. The night is bright, and 
when morning dawns the blood-hound is still 
upon the trail. The crew of the 8-inch breech- 
loading rifle on the forecastle is called to quar 
ters, and a shell is sent speeding over the water 
in the direction of the fleeing ship. Slowly the 
distance diminishes. Suddenly a white cloud 
of smoke bursts from the liner, and a heavy 
shell strikes close aboard the American ship. 

All hands are soon at their stations, and in 
a short time all is in readiness for battle. The 
Stars and Stripes at her trucks flaunt a chal 
lenge to the enemy's ensign at the Calabria's 

The two ships are now within battle-range, 
and the thunder of their heavy ordnance breaks 
the stillness of the ocean. 

Shells go speeding through the unarmored 
sides of the ships, their explosions making ter 
rific havoc among their unprotected crews. The 
picture before the midshipman's eyes is now 
a reality. Tirelessly the two lads work; their 
guns are next to each other. As they give their 
commands in sharp, decisive voices the contrast 
seems less striking. A shell comes in the gun- 
port and strikes down the captain of the younger 
lad's gun; the lock-string falls from his life- 



less hand. Gently laying the dead man aside, 
he takes the lanyard. 

As he stood at his gun before the heat of 
action, he was seized with an awful trembling, 
and he feared lest he might show by his actions 
the white feather to his men. Then came the 
bursting of shells and the explosion of dis 
charges, and then the shell striking down his 
gun captain, spluttering his life-blood all about 
him. At once his fears left him, his eyes bright 
ened, and a terrible anger awoke in him, the 
like of which he had never known. He fired 
his gun at the enemy with a fierce exultancy, 
wondering in a cruel way how many lives the 
shell had cut down. It seems ages since the 
battle started. With his eyes always on the 
enemy, he is spared from seeing his friend, 
struck by a flying splinter, being carried below 
to the surgeons. He sees the Calabria, her sides 
ablaze with fire, sweep majestically across his 
small horizon and then disappear. He is al 
ways aware of her awful presence from the 
never-ceasing bursting of her shells around him. 
Then again she appears, and is once more in his 
angle of fire. During this small space of time 
his gun has done all that could be expected; 
he has watched shell after shell from it explode 

aboard the enemy ; he can see large rents in her 



black hull, and he notices her fire is becoming 
more desultory; the fight will soon be over. 
As she disappears again, he musters up courage 
to look about him. There is but little life on 
the battery-deck that only a half-hour before 
was the scene of so much activity. The gun 
next his is not in action ; a shell has completely 
shattered the breech-plug ; nearly its entire crew 
are lying about on the deck, their dark life-blood 
staining the white planking. His companion's 
cap is lying near a dark mass on the deck. Is 
it his blood ? His senses are so paralyzed that 
he feels his mind must give way. The enemy 
emerges into view; his hand is upon the lock- 
string; the elevator and trainer are attentively 
watching for their orders. They do not come. 
His thoughts are far away in the midst of a 
modest New England home. He sees a beauti 
ful motherly woman, her face pale and anxious, 
and by her side is a young girl in the first blush 
of womanhood. 

He is suddenly conscious of a young seaman 
standing before him, giving him a message. 
In a dazed way he relinquishes his lock-string 
to one of his gunners and is making his way 
over the reeking deck toward the bridge. He 
hears a voice, as if in a dream, giving him or 
ders to be ready to board the prize. Then the 



enemy has surrendered? His gaze seeks the 
other ship. But a short distance away he sees 
her shattered hull rolling in the smooth sea. 
A huge white flag flutters from her signal-hal 
yards. The boats are ready and alongside. The 
men are embarking. He takes his place, and 
they shove off, and are soon scaling the side of 
the captured vessel. Her decks are almost de 
serted, scarcely a living man is about, but every 
where death and destruction reign. He hears a 
well-known voice close to him. Has the last 
hour been an awful nightmare, or has his mind 
been shaken at last? He cannot grasp the 
situation. There is his friend, looking paler 
than ever, his right arm in splints and his head 
tied up in a huge bandage. His joy knows 
no bounds. With a fervent " Thank Heaven !" 
they embrace. There is no time now for ex 
planations; it is enough to know that his com 
panion is still alive. With orders from his 
Lieutenant, he is leading, pistol in hand, a gang 
of tars down into the Calabria's bowels. The 
surprised firemen and stokers are quickly mana 
cled, and ready Americans have taken their 
places. An engineer officer is giving rapid or 
ders to his men; the huge engines start ahead, 
slowly at first, then the revolutions increase till 
the shafts are revolving at a terrific speed. 



When he again reaches the deck everything is 
again calm and peaceful. On the port quarter, 
but a short distance away, he sees his own ship. 
Both ships are going at full speed; and astern, 
just out of gun-shot, he sees the hulls of three 
more ships. He understands it all now. The 
Calabria had nearly led them into a trap. 

A red wig-wag flag is waving on board the 
white cruiser : " Must reduce speed in order to 
reach port." Coal is running short. The hor 
ribly significant signal can hardly be realized. 
Will she fall a prey to the enemy's cruisers af 
ter such a glorious victory? Foot by foot the 
hostile ships draw nearer to the commerce-de 
stroyer and her prize. In case they are over 
taken, the Calabria is to go on and reach Hamp 
ton Roads in safety. It is the only thing to 
do. Why sacrifice another ship unnecessarily? 
For two days and nights the pursuit continues. 
Cape Henry light-house is sighted on the port 
bow. Just within gun-shot astern are the three 
heavily armored cruisers, using their bow- 
chasers with great rapidity and precision on the 
fleeing ships. Large volumes of brown smoke 
pour from the American cruiser's smoke-pipes. 
She is making her last spurt for life. Bulk 
heads, furniture, and all combustible material 
have been fed to the mighty furnaces. 


Slowly they draw away from their pursuers. 
The light-house is close on the port beam. The 
heavy guns there are directed against three dark 
hulls to the eastward. They are the baffled 




Fighting for the Flag 

"\ A/HAT d'ye see, Mr. Wright?" 

V V " A French xebec, sir two of 'em." 

"Comin' this way?" 

" No, sir ; due south by the compass, sir. 
They're standin' away under full sail looks 
as if they saw somethin'." 

" Maybe they see us." 

Captain John Granthan smiled broadly at 
his grim humor. 

" Maybe, sir," answered Wright, the boat 
swain, without relaxing his features. 

" Look ahead of ? em and see if you can't see 
somethin'. French xebecs ain't chasin' the seas 
for nuthin'." 

The boatswain directed his sea-glasses due 
south by the compass, and gazed long and silent 
ly across the sunlit ocean. Granthan, captain 

of the privateer London, ex-convict and pirate, 


seated himself on a coil of rope and glanced 
critically up at the bellying sails. 

" They don't draw well to-day," he muttered 
to himself. 

He was proud of the London, and anything 
wrong with her affected him as a mother with 
a sick child. She had been a London mail- 
packet, and she was as fleet as any deer-hound 
of the ocean. 

" Them Frenchmen-of-the-line can't shoot a 
cannon-ball as fast as we can sail," he was wont 
to remark contemptuously when chased by the 

" Ah, that's it !" suddenly exclaimed Wright, 
the boatswain. 

"Well, what's it?" grumbled Granthan, as 
the man relapsed into stolid silence again. 

" It's a mail-packet, sir ; one of 'em small 
Falmouth packets, I judge, sir. They're 
a-chasin' of her." 

" Then we'll chase 'em. Crowd on full sail, 
Mr. Wright, an' keep her course straight. We 
can get in gun-shot of 'em in five hours, or the 
London ain't what she's cracked up to be." 

"Ay, ay, sir! We'll do it." 

When the boatswain bawled out the orders, 
Captain Granthan took the sea -glasses and 
studied the distant horizon. The two French 


xebecs, with their three masts, stood up on the 
blue sea like a pair of white-winged gulls. Far 
down below the horizon the topmast of another 
ship could be seen. K^one but sharp sea eyes 
could detect her colors. 

" That's a mail-packet," grunted Granthan to 
himself. " I'd know one a thousand miles away. 
She's from Falmouth, too; only twenty-eight 
men and six guns. She's no match for 'em 
two Frenchmen. A dastardly trick of gov'ment 
to reduce their armament. Run away an' not 
fight! What Englishman wants to obey such 
orders ? Surrender an' sink the mails if caught ! 
Humph ! What are British seamen comin' to ?" 

" Did you speak, sir ?" 

" Yes, Mr. Wright, I spoke to myself. I was 
just sayin' that it was a crime fur the gov'ment 
to reduce the armament of them mail-packets at 
this time. It's the ruination of British seamen. 
How can you expect to make brave seamen with 
orders always to run away or surrender to the 


" It's a shame, sir. I quite agree with you, 
sir ; it's a disgrace to British sailors." 

" Them two Frenchmen carry sixteen guns 
apiece, I'll swear, an' the mail - packet only 


" Maybe, sir ; an' then " 


Granthan turned around and finished his 
sentence " they might have more. No, Mr. 
Wright, there ain't many captains that '11 break 
the law as I did. It's too risky to smuggle 
extra guns aboard a mail-packet. The post- 
office inspectors are too sharp. They don't let 
us poor fellows make prize-money any more." 

" E"ot unless you take out papers as a priva 
teer, sir, an' take prizes lawfully." 

Captain Granthan's face clouded. A troubled 
expression spread over it and made him look 
ugly and surly. 

" And didn't they refuse to give me my pa 
pers?" he asked, gruffly. 

" Ay, they did, sir, an' without good cause." 

" Just because I smuggled a few extra guns 
on the packet, an' ran down a French privateer 
off Calais," he continued, in a louder voice. 
" They said I'd have to lay off for a year 
think of it, a whole year while these French 
privateers were flooding the sea ! Ain't I a sea- 
captain, Mr. Wright, bred to it from a young 
ster up, an' ain't I human? Could I live on 
the land for a whole year an' hear the guns 
a-boomin' away at sea? They just took the 
salt out o' my life, an' well, I stood it three 
months, an' then human nature could stand 
no more. I had to go to sea, an' this packet was 



handy in the harbor. I just sailed away with 
her, an' then picked up you an' the rest of the 

" Is that how you came to this life, sir ?" 

"Yes, Mr. Wright, that's the story. An' 
then they put a price on my head. The post- 
office fellows would just like to run me down. 
But I leave it to you, Mr. Wright, if I haven't 
always honored the old flag. 'Ain't I always 
fought with it at the mast-head, an' did I ever 
touch a ship flyin' it? They can't say that 
I've disgraced it. If they choose to call me 
a pirate, they can; but I'll kill the man that 
says I'm a traitor to that flag." 

The eyes of Granthan flashed fire, as he point 
ed dramatically to the union- jack fluttering 
over their heads in the breeze. 

" I will, too, sir," solemnly replied the boat 
swain. And the two clasped hands in mutual 

Across the water the actors in the forth 
coming conflict were looming up more clearly. 
The two French xebecs were gaining on the 
English mail-packet, but not faster than the 
London was gaining upon the former. 

" They don't see us," Captain Granthan said, 
after a long pause ; " they're so intent upon 
their prize." 



" They'll hear us, then, later." 

" Yes and feel us, too. I'll save another 
packet for the old service, or go down fighting 
for it." 

A sudden hoom of a gun rolled in muffled 
tones across the sea. 

" Ah ! they're beginning the fun." 

A puff of smoke from the leading xebec's 
fore-deck indicated the cause of the sound. It 
was immediately followed by another. Then 
silence reined over the placid sea. 

" They can't reach the packet yet," muttered 
Granthan, watching the ships eagerly through 
his sea-glasses. " But they'll overhaul her in 
half an hour." 

Thirty minutes ticked away by the Captain's 
watch before there was any sign of a renewal 
of hostilities. Then the boom of guns fired 
in rapid succession told the threatening fate of 
the fleeing mail-packet. 

" They ain't very good marksmen," Granthan 
reflected. " Them French navy fellows never 
were; it's only the privateers that can shoot 
straight. You remember the time we fought 
one off Dover, Mr. Wright? They handled 
their guns almost as well as we did. It was 
only a lucky shot of ours that disabled her. Then 

that little English brig just scooted an' didn't 


stop to thank us. I s'pose the Captain thought 
I was goin' to overhaul him next ; he knew who 
I was." 

" We'd better get ready for action, sir ; I 
think we could reach 'em with our fore-gun." 

" Not this time, Mr. Wright. I'm goin' to 
close in on 'em, an' if things get too hot we'll 
board 'em. They're two to one, remember, for 
that packet won't stop to fight if she can slip 
away. Run away, or surrender and sink the 
mails ! that's their orders, Mr. Wright." 

Granthan's lips curled a little as he uttered 
these words. The rattle of small and large 
guns was pretty general now ; but still the mail- 
packet stood on its course uninjured. 

" They've slashed her sails a little," Gran- 
than reported, " but they haven't done any great 
damage yet. She's answerin' back now." 

Puffs of smoke from the little packet clouded 
her stern and sides until half her hull was hid 
den from view. 

" Mr. Wright, I'd like to shake hands with 
that Captain," Granthan said, with enthusiasm. 
" He knows how to fight, an' he won't surrender 
until he's sinkin'. There goes the topmast of 
the first xebec. What a shot! Ah, that was 

"What is it, sir?" 

8 99 


" The packet's crippled, an' Say, Mr. 
Wright, can't we sail faster ?" 

Granthan lowered his glasses and glanced 
about at his own trim ship. Every member of 
the crew was in his place, armed to the teeth 
and ready for an engagement. 

" We're doing fifteen knots an hour, sir." 

" Then make it sixteen, an' I'll give you ex 
tra prize-money." 

" Ay, sir, I will if it's possible." 

Granthan walked toward the heavy gun train 
ed over the privateer's bow. The old gunner 
doffed his hat to him. 

" Ready, sir, when the order is given." 

" Aim low, Jones, an' see that you cripple 
her below the water-line. We'll have to sink 
one and capture the other." 

" Ay, sir ; I'll sink her in five rounds," re 
sponded the old gunner as he readjusted the 
aim of the gun. 

There was suppressed excitement on board 
the privateer, but Granthan seemed uncon 

" Save the men's strength for boardin'," he 
said, as he passed the first officer of the deck, 
" an' don't let 'em expose themselves too much. 
It's better to keep shy of the balls until we're 

at close quarters. Ah! they've discovered us." 


A solid shot whizzed across the sea and 
splashed in the water a hundred yards from the 

" Now, Jones, sink her !" Granthan shouted 
to the forward gunner. " Extra prize money 
for every gunner that hits the mark square." 

There was an instant change in the Captain. 
The firing of the first shot dispelled all his 
apathy. He was alert, active, dangerous. In 
person he gave the orders to the gunners. The 
forward gun of the privateer belched forth its 

" Lower, lower, Jones !" Granthan shouted, 
savagely. " What are you practising for ? Hit 
her, man, an' not the sea! A boy could do 

Notwithstanding the fact that the first shot 
had struck the upper stern-deck of the nearest 
xebec, the old gunner grumbled at his luck and 
lowered his piece. 

Another solid shot came singing across the 
open space between the combatants, and cut 
away some of the rigging of the privateer. 
Granthan shouted: 

" Mr. Wright, up there with your men ; 
they'll cripple us before we can reach ? em!" 

A dozen men sprang up the ratlines, and in 
the very face of the heavy fire repaired the 


torn rigging. But another shot struck the rail 
ing of the London, and sent huge splinters 
flying in every direction. One man fell, stunned 
by a blow on the head. 

" Bring her about, Mr. Wright, an' give ? em 
a broadside," the Captain ordered. 

They were at close quarters now, and the en 
gagement was pretty general. The London 
poured a deadly broadside into the nearest xebec 
which made her reel and tremble; but a mo 
ment later the response came. There was a rat 
tling of shots and a smashing of wood-work 
that drowned the moans and cries of the wound 
ed. Orders were flying thick and fast, and Gran- 
than seemed to be everywhere. The tigerish 
old spirit of the sea-captain was fully aroused. 
The odds were against him, and he was in his 

The second xebec had swung around to give 
assistance to her hard-pressed companion. Lit 
tle damage was being done to the deck-work 
of the latter; but the broadsides of the priva 
teer were pouring deadly missiles into her hull 
so deadly that she seemed to be sinking. 

The men on the London, except the gunners, 
did not like this long-distance duel. They pre 
ferred a hand-to-hand combat. But Captain 
Granthan knew that the odds in such a conflict 


were five to one against him, while with his 
guns he was rapidly reducing this disparity. 

" She's sinking sir," bawled the boatswain 
from the stern. " She can't stand any more." 

" Then stand off, an' look out for 'em," 
Granthan answered back. " They're tryin' to 
close in on us. Here Mr. Wright, bring her 

But a well-directed shot from the approach 
ing xebec smashed the mainmast and sent it 
splintering to the deck. Captain Granthan took 
in the situation instantly. 

" !N"ow, Jones, aim at her decks an' cripple 
her," he ordered. " Don't let her come nearer. 
We don't want to be boarded yet." 

The old gunner made no reply, but his mouth 
piece gave effective answer a moment later. The 
crash of timbers and toppling masts and yards 
brought a cheer from the throats of the seamen 
on the London. Granthan shouted, sternly : 

" Stop your cheerin', an' get ready to fight ! 
They're runnin' down upon us to board. Give 
'em another broadside, Mr. Wright, an' then 
get ready to repel boarders." 

The position of the privateer was now critical. 

Unable to move out of the fog of her own 

smoke, she was drifting between the guns of 

the two xebecs. The latter had silenced their 



gun and were preparing to grapple with the 
daring little privateer. Amid the confusion 
Granthan asked: 

" Where is the little packet ? Has she es 
caped 3" 

~No one answered, for the clouds of heavy 
smoke had settled down over the sea, so that 
nothing beyond a narrow circle could be dis 
cerned. The three ships drifted closer to 

There was a moment of intense silence. Then 
the guns of the privateer raked the decks of the 
xebecs. The response from either side was 
feeble, for most of their guns had been dis 

The narrow stream of water between the ships 
lessened to fifty feet. Then the gunners were 
called away from their pieces. The Captain 
had given orders, and Wright had repeated 
them in a thick, hoarse voice, to prepare to repel 
boarders, and every man stood ready. There 
were eighty of them left, forty on a side, lined 
up to meet overwhelming numbers. 

The grizzled and swarthy rows of faces on the 
opposing ships stared at one another in a min 
ute of deathlike stillness. Then there was a 
roar like the raging of a cataract. The sharp 
clang of grappling - irons, the grinding and 


crunching of wooden timbers as the ships 
bumped together, the ringing orders of officers, 
and the cheers of the men combined to make 
a sullen noise that seemed devoid of sense and 
meaning. Then came the shock of battle, the 
charge and retreat, the cries and groans, the 
superhuman endeavor of each to overcome a 
dozen, and, finally, the long painful lull in the 
storm when each force tried to calculate the 
damages wrought by the other. 

Captain Granthan stood at the head of his 
little force, stern, tragic, and vengeful. Every 
boarder had been repelled on his side. 

"How is it with you, Mr. Wright?" he 
shouted, wheeling around. 

" Mr. Wright is wounded, sir ; but we're hold 
ing 'em back." 

It was Jones, the crack gunner of the priva 
teer, who spoke. 

" Then stick to it, Jones, an' I'll double your 

" Ay, ay, sir, we will ; and here they come 

Forming the line of attack, the French made 
another attempt to board the privateer, fling 
ing themselves against the sides of the ships like 
wild beasts, some of them often falling over 
upon the decks of the London. But an irre- 



sistible human wall met them and hurled back 
the charging line with sure effect. 

Defeated and repulsed the second time, the 
Frenchmen began to cut loose from the priva 
teer. Captain Granthan, seeing his prizes slip 
ping from him, ran aloft, and before the xebecs 
could sheer off he had lashed their square-sail 
yards to the fore-shrouds of the London. Then 
descending to the deck, he shouted, exultantly : 

" Jones, we've got our prizes ; now make ? em 

A glance up at the entangled shrouds con 
vinced every man of the desperateness of the 
engagement. There was to be no retreat. It 
was victory or surrender or death. 

The attacking forces comprehended the situa 
tion at the same time ; but most of their leaders 
were gone, and half the men were demoralized 
and discouraged at the fearful condition that 
reigned. Nevertheless, they fought like brave 
seamen stubborn, fearless, and unyielding. 
But their efforts were hopeless, and a realiza 
tion of this worked more harm in their ranks 
than the swords of the enemy. 

Captain Granthan's heroes of many a hard- 
fought sea contest were inflamed by the act of 
their hero, and they plunged into the conflict 
with a surety of victory that they never once 



doubted. They hammered away until both 
xebecs struck their colors and the Frenchmen 
laid down their arms. 

" Sir, they've surrendered." 

It was the voice of Jones which announced 
the victory. Granthan dropped the sword he 
held aloft over his head, and looked at his surly 
foe. The latter did likewise. 

" Then, Jones, you'll have your prize-money 
an' an' mine, too." 

" Not yours, sir. What's the matter ?" 

Granthan staggered backward and fell into 
the powerful arms of the begrimed gunner. 

" I'm done for, Jones." 

Then opening his eyes wearily, he added, 
with a smile: 

" But it was a glorious victory." 

" Ay, ay, sir ; it was." 

There were tears in the eyes of the gunner 
as he spoke, and his voice faltered. 

A little brandy revived the hero of the day 
and he opened his eyes again. He glanced 
around at the circle of faces, then beyond them, 
where his eyes remained fixed for some time. 

" Jones, what ship is that coming ? Is is 

"It's the packet, sir the mail-packet that 
you saved." 



" Then maybe they want me me, a pirate ; 
but they're too late." 

The man smiled grimly as he spoke. Out of 
the clouds of smoke the mail-packet was loom 
ing, working its way like a crippled horse to 
wards the three interlocked ships. A moment 
later she struck the stern of the privateer and 
a score of armed men, led by a British officer, 
jumped aboard the London. 

" Have they surrendered ?" demanded the 

"Ay, sir, they have; but they've killed our 

Granthan looked long and steadily at the 
man. Was he dreaming, or was his face fa 
miliar ? He had the features of one who long 
ago had sternly sentenced him to disgrace. 
How vividly the scene returned to him the 
small, stuffy court - room, the row of stern 
judges, that one face ! 

" Are you injured fatally, Captain ?" 

The face was pressed close to his. Although 
dying, he still had the strength of an ordinary 
man. A knife lay close to his hand. With one 
blow he could repay the old debt. It were bet 
ter so than to let him escape after sacrificing 
his own life to save the ship. 

His fingers closed softly over the hilt of the 
108 ' 


knife. With his half - closed eyes he located 
the seat of the heart. 

" Why, this is Captain Granthan Captain 
John Granthan, of Falmouth 1" 

The officer rose hastily from his kneeling 
position. Granthan relaxed his clasp on the 
knife. His opportunity was gone. Well, it were 
better so ; he could die with a clean conscience. 

" Yes, it is Captain Granthan, ex-convict an' 
pirate; an ? you I remember your face Cap 
tain Barker. I " 

" You bear me no ill-will, Captain ! It was 
all in the line of duty. I " 

Granthan waved his hand; he did not wish 
to reopen the old wound. 

" You've triumphed again," the injured man 
said, huskily. " You can take my body an 7 
get the reward, but you can't take me alive. I'll 
cheat you out of that." 

" Reward, Captain ! What do you mean ? 
Is it possible you've not heard ?" 

Granthan stared blankly at him; he did not 

" Captain, there's no reward offered for you," 
Barker said. " That was long ago withdrawn. 
When the Admiralty heard of your brave deeds 
on the ocean they restored you to rank. Didn't 

you save the bark Hull from the French guns, 


an' didn't you destroy a French privateer off 
Liverpool? Why, Captain, you've done more 
for the flag than any other man in the service ! 
D'you think this had no weight at home? 
There ain't a man at Falmouth or Liverpool 
that don't want to shake your hands." 

Granthan listened quietly, intently; it was 
so pleasant to hear these words that he sighed 
when the man stopped. A pirate no longer ! 
restored to his rank ! honored at home ! 

" Reward, Captain !" Barker continued. 
" Yes, there is a big reward offered, but it is 
for you an' not for the man who brings you 
home. You'll be an admiral in the British 
navy some day if you keep this up." 

Then seeing the exhaustion of the wounded 
man, he stopped, and turned to the surgeon of 
the mail-packet: 

" Here, Wilson, you must save his life. I 
must take him home alive. Captain, rouse 
yourself; you must not die now, an' like 

Granthan raised himself with difficulty. 

" Sir, if what you say is true, I will not die. 
I'll fight death as I fought these Frenchmen. 
Tell me if it is true that you're not lying to 

There was a feverish energy and determina- 


tion in his voice that showed the reserve force 
in his stalwart frame. 

" As Heaven is my witness, Captain, it is all 
true, an ? more, too !" 

"Then I will not die!" 

And the will power that rang through his 
words finally restored him to health and to his 
rank in the British navy. 


What a Boy Did to Save Life and Ship 

JOHN" TEA VIS, of the bark 
Swalloiv, 670 tons burden, homeward 
bound to New York from Port Elizabeth, South 
Africa, did not like the looks of his first mate, 
and he liked his manners less. But what could 
he do ? When the bark was ready for sea Frank 
Watson, the young cabin steward, had come 
aboard and said: 

" Captain, Mr. Brett is very sick, and the 
owners have sent me down with Mr. Johnson, 
who is to serve as first mate in his place." 

Johnson stood in the cabin door, a tall, sleek, 
cadaverous man, with an eye as gray and as 
cold as a November sea. He shifted restlessly 
from one foot to the other, and frequently 
glanced back over his shoulder as if suspicion 
lurked in his shadow. Captain Travis thought 
he had the look of a deserting soldier, not to 


be expected from an honest seaman; but what 
could he do? The tug was already fussing in 
towards the bark, and in a quarter of an hour 
the anchor would be up and the vessel towing 
away from her berth off Liberty Island. 

" Are you an American ?" asked the Captain. 

" No, sir/' replied Johnson, respectfully ; 
" I'm from Nova Scotia." 

" You breed good seamen there. Well, Mr. 
Johnson, have your dunnage stowed and make 
yourself comfortable." 

Captain Travis knew now that he was the 
only American aboard the bark, except the 
steward, who was only a boy of seventeen. The 
second mate was a Portuguese named Menzies, 
a brown-faced, heavy-browed fellow, with the 
track of an old knife-scar showing red and 
white down his left cheek. There were eleven 
men in the crew four Belgians, three Italians, 
one German, one Swede, and two Lascars. The 
cargo was wool, and was worth $100,000. Cap 
tain Travis thought of all that, and for a few 
minutes his heart played with his ribs as it 
never had before at the beginning of a voyage. 
Yet Port Elizabeth was reached and the cargo 
discharged without a disquieting murmur. 
The bark was well provisioned and there was 
not a whole day of heavy weather, so that the 


crew had no excuse for dissatisfaction. Never 
theless, the bark's work was done loosely and 
lazily, and before the port of destination was 
reached Captain Travis spoke twice to his 
mates, cautioning them to keep the men up 
to their tasks. They answered respectfully 
enough, but the Captain thought he detected an 
undercurrent of ill-feeling. He wished heartily 
that his familiar and trusted first mate Brett 
was with him. He wished still more earnestly 
that he and the boy were not the only Ameri 
cans aboard. Yet the Swallow flew to Port 
Elizabeth on the wings of peace. 

It was as pretty a day as one could wish to 
see in those latitudes when she spread her wings 
for her homeward flight. The sky was cloud 
less, and glowed from horizon to horizon with 
a deep, lambent blue which repeated itself in 
a darker shade in the sea. The breeze was 
moderate, cool, and steady, and it flowed over 
the port quarter in a sweet torrent of salt per 
fume which drove the bark along at a pretty 
pace of eight knots an hour. The bark herself, 
plain and severe as she was, without glittering 
brass-work or hard-wood ornament, was a good 
picture for a seaman's eye as she plunged for 
ward over the sparkling slopes, garbed in 

creamy swells of tense canvas up to the very 


needle-points of her royal masts. Captain John 
Travis swung forward and aft along the weather 
side of the poop-deck, and wondered whether 
he had been in his senses when he sailed out 
of !N"ew York with a mind full of black fore 

Pleasant seas and fair winds followed the 
bark for several weeks, and everything seemed 
to promise a speedy voyage home. The Swal 
low was now well towards the latitude of Ber 
muda, but still some five hundred miles south 
of that port. The young moon, low in the west, 
was laying a path of dim silver along the glassy 
seas when the Captain went on deck in the 
first mate's watch and, leaning on the taffrail, 
idly watched the flashing of the milky foam 
which swirled sternward from under the bark's 
counter. The first mate saluted him in a some 
what careless manner and walked towards the 
break of the poop. At that instant, from some 
place in the shadowy gloom under the weather- 
rail, the boy Frank Watson slipped swiftly to 
the Captain's side. 

" Come below, sir ; come below. I have 
something to tell you," said the boy, in a 

The next instant he was gone, and the Cap 
tain stood half in doubt as to whether he had 

9 115 


heard aright. But the sight of the lean form 
of his first mate looming in black relief against 
the pallid swell of the spanker decided him, and 
with a half -muttered " Good-night " he descend 
ed. He found the boy waiting for him in the 
cabin with a face full of feverish anxiety. 

" Well, what is it ?" he asked. 

" Oh, sir," said the boy, " speak low ! They 
may hear us." 

"They? Who?" 

" Oh, any of them, sir ! I guess they're all 
in it." 

"In what?" 

" That's what I want to tell you, sir." 

The Captain instinctively braced his nerves 
for a shock. 

" Go ahead," he said. 

" You were asleep this afternoon, sir," said 
the boy, " in the first dog-watch, and I was 
scouring the telltale compass. It hangs right 
under the skylight there, sir, and that was open 
on a crack, and I heard Mr. Johnson and Mr. 
Menzies talking. They must have been sitting 
on the after - end of the skylight, and they 
couldn't see me. I didn't mean to listen to 
them at first. But after I'd heard a few words 
by accident, I listened as hard as I could. Mr. 

Johnson said to Mr. Menzies that a tidy sum of 


money could be made by taking the Swallow 
into Bermuda instead of New York. Mr. 
Menzies wanted to know how, and Mr. John 
son said that they could pretend the bark needed 
repairs. After getting into harbor they could 
open the water-pipes and then call for a sur 
vey. After the officers were aboard the ship 
could be pumped out, and in about an hour the 
pipes could be started again. That would make 
the surveyors think the bark was leaking, and 
big repairs could be ordered. Of course, then, 
the man that had the contract would have to be 
in with them and tinker around for a time, mak 
ing believe that he was doing a big job. The 
next time the pumps were tried they would show 
that the bark was sound, and so there would be 
a good sum of money to divide. Mr. Menzies 
said he didn't like the scheme, because the crew 
would all have to be let into it. It would be 
easier, he said, to run the bark ashore some 
where and take chances on what they could 
get out of the wreck." 

" Of course !" exclaimed the Captain. " He's 
a sweet scoundrel, he is !" 

"Don't speak so loud, sir," said the boy, 

earnestly; "they'd cut our throats if they 

thought we knew. Mr. Menzies said that you 

would have to be got out of the way. Mr. John- 



son said he'd fix you, and he'd do it so that no 
one would ever know that you hadn't done it 

Captain Travis stood for a minute silent and 
motionless. He was almost dumfounded at the 
revelations, and the horror of his situation, at 
sea with a mutinous crew and only a faithful 
boy confronted him in its most appalling colors. 
But John Travis came of sound stock. His thin 
lips compressed themselves into a hard line and 
a cold light gleamed in his blue eyes. 

" I'll see this thing through," he said, in a 
low voice, " and we'll find out whether brains 
aren't better than brutality. You go on about 
your work, and don't give the slightest sign 
that you know there's anything amiss. You 
understand ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Here, put this in your pocket." 

The Captain opened a locker and took out 
two revolvers, one of which he gave to Frank, 
and the other he kept himself. 

" !Now," said Captain Travis to himself, " it 
does not make much difference which of the 
schemes they undertake. My work is to pre 
vent them from getting rid of me, and also 
from getting within sight of Bermuda. I'll 

just doctor the chronometer a little. It's a 


lucky thing that Johnson is such a poor navi 
gator. He'll never notice the sudden change of 
the clock's rate." 

A very small change in the reading of a 
chronometer will make a great difference in the 
longitude obtained by observation, so when Cap 
tain Travis had altered the hands of the chro 
nometer in his room a few minutes, he had pre 
pared a genuine surprise for his mate. It was 
his purpose to alter the reading of the clock 
every day a little, so as to make the bark seem 
to be much farther east than she really was. 
Thus the conspirators would think she was near 
Bermuda when, really, she was close to the 
American coast. By keeping for himself a 
memorandum of the amount of the alteration 
he would be able to compute the true position 
of the vessel. 

" There," he muttered, as he screwed down 
the lid again, " I know something now that you 
don't, my fine friends. But I've got to keep 
the breath of life in me, and to do that may not 
be so easy." 

Captain Travis did not sleep well that night, 
and he was on deck early in the morning. 
There was not a sign of mutiny. The bark 
was under everything to her top-gallants, with a 
brisk breeze just a point forward of her star- 



board beam. The sea was fairly smooth, but 
running in a deep swell. The bark thundered 
into the black hollows and leaped over the foam 
ing crests at a ten-knot speed, and the big Ger 
man at the wheel gripped the spokes with strain 
ed arms as he stared sullenly into the compass- 
bowl. Menzies, the second mate, leaned against 
the railing of the poop and gazed steadily ahead, 
as if expecting to see Bermuda rise untimely 
from behind the hardened horizon. The watch 
sprawled lazily about the forecastle, and a thin 
haze of blue swirling to leeward from the ca 
boose chimney told that the cook was preparing 
early coffee. Not a thing could the Captain see 
that was suspicious, and he was half inclined 
to think that the story of the previous night 
had been a bad dream. But Menzies started 
and glared at him as he ascended the poop 
ladder, and he was once more on his guard. 

All that day Captain Travis walked on a 
slumbering volcano. But there was no ex 
plosion. There was a rumble at noon when the 
first mate found his dead-reckoning and his 
position by observation so much apart. But 
that passed by with a curse upon unknown cur 
rents and an oath at shrunk log-lines. The 
same thing happened on the following day, and 
on the third day, when the bark was really west- 



southwest of Bermuda, while the conspirators 
thought her a goodly distance southeast of that 

The afternoon sun fell wan and watery in the 
wet west, and fitful gusts of petulant wind came 
out of the southeast. The Swallow's wings 
were clipped to her topsails, but before the 
growing blast she flew fast. The darkness 
closed in over a rude and boisterous scene. The 
fitful gusts had grown to a steady outpour of 
wind that was swiftly hardening into a gale. 
The following seas had swelled into towering 
cliffs of slanting gray and hissing foam that 
stormed down on the little vessel in a wild and 
weird race. The Swallow's stern swung high in 
air as her bows crashed down into the gloomy 
hollows of the underrunning seas, and the secret 
spaces of her hold were filled with the loud 
groaning of her strained timbers. 

" Keep her as she goes," said Captain Travis, 
as he went below to supper, " and we'll heave to 
when it comes to blow harder." 

" Ay, ay, sir," said the second mate, sullenly. 
But the man at the wheel let her yaw off two 
points, with a curl on his lip as he did it. 

Johnson, the first mate, came out of the cabin 
as the Captain passed in, giving his superior a 
curt nod. His face was white and his eyes 



gleamed like green ice. The young steward 
came from the caboose with a steaming dish, 
and took up the coffee-pot to get fresh coffee. 
Captain Travis ate in chilled silence, as a man 
would with the shadow of death upon him. But 
when he had hastily swallowed half a cup of the 
coffee he set the cup down with a sudden blanch 
ing of his face and a wild stare in his eyes. 

" They've done it !" he said, in a hoarse 

" Done what, sir ?" asked the boy, feverishly. 

For answer the Captain sprang up and open 
ed the top drawer in his own room. He drew 
from it a bottle labelled " Laudanum." It was 

" That was in the coffee ! Johnson knew I 
had it; he saw me use some for an aching 
tooth ! Get some sea-water warm quick !" 

The boy dashed out of the cabin door. The 
Captain walked the floor with the horrible anx 
iety of a man who knows there is poison in 
him and who waits to feel its work begin. The 
boy seemed to be gone an interminable time. 
Suddenly the Captain felt himself sway, and 
was conscious of a dimness in his vision. The 
drug had begun its work. He struggled against 
it as one fights death, for it was death. He 
rushed blindly up and down the cabin, bruising 



his face and limbs as he staggered against doors 
and stanchions in his desperate race againsfc 
overmastering sleep. His throat burned; stars 
danced before his eyes ; his breath came in sobs ; 
and he was on the brink of a fierce scream of 
despair when the boy burst into the cabin. 

" Here, sir ! Drink it, quick ! I couldn't get 
it before. They were watching me. It's out of 
the lee waterways, sir, but it '11 make you 

The Captain seized the pannikin of luke 
warm salt-water and drained it at a single 
draught. Then came a brief spasm of death 
ly sickness, followed by a few moments of 

"Now, Frank," said Captain Travis, "your 
life and mine depend upon your obeying my 
orders. Don't let me go to sleep. Shut the 
skylights so they can't see what we're doing 
here. Walk me up and down, beat me, kick 
me, but don't let me go to sleep. If you do, 
I'll never see daylight again, and neither will 

For an hour the Captain and the boy fought 
sleep, the twin brother of death, while the bark 
went staggering and crashing over the leaping 
ridges through the fathomless gloom of the wild 
night. Suddenly there was a wider lurch and 


then a heavy roll. The Captain straightened 
himself up with a mighty effort and gazed at 
the telltale compass over his head. 

" The fools I" he said. " They've headed her 
due west for Bermuda, they think. Or, do 
they hope to wreck her ?" 

" I think they'll try to get rid of you first, 

" They have tried, but I'm here yet, and 
I'm going to stay. Wait, wait. We're not out 
of this yet. Let me think let me think, if I 
can, with a brain that is swimming and burning 
at the same time." 

" They're sure to come down to see if you're 
asleep," said Frank. 

" Yes, that's it. I'll beat them, then," said 
the Captain, rubbing his forehead vigorously. 
Then he staggered and fell forward. 

" Get up ! get up !" cried Frank. 

The boy seized a heavy strap which lay in a 
corner, and beat his Captain mercilessly. The 
man groaned, rolled over, and presently, stag 
gering to his feet, clasped the boy in a hostile 

" You'll murder me, will you, Johnson ?" he 

" It's Frank, sir, Frank !" exclaimed the boy, 




The Captain's brain cleared. He clasped 
the boy in an embrace of love and gratitude. 
" I'm ready now," he said. " Come." 
He went to his room and arranged the pil 
lows and covering of his bunk so that in the 
dim light they looked like the form of a man 
asleep. Then he and the boy concealed them 
selves behind the cabin table. The swinging- 
lamp burned low and filled the place with dim, 
changeful shadows. Half an hour passed, and 
the cabin door opened and Johnson entered 
alone. He closed the door very softly, steady 
ing himself against its frame, and stood peering 
around the cabin with his icy gray eyes. The 
Captain and the steward did not breathe. John 
son started with the tread of a panther towards 
the Captain's room. He paused several times 
and listened as if one could hear anything 
but the furious thunder of the mighty seas and 
the mad howling of the gale ! Hours seemed to 
pass, but at length he reached the Captain's 
door. He looked into the room and saw what 
he thought was the Captain's form. A smile 
of fearful evil distorted his chill features as he 
slowly drew from the leg of one of his sea-boots 
a long, keen knife. Frank Watson's breath came 
in sobs, while the Captain gripped his shoulders 
with iron fingers. The mate entered the room, 


and at the same instant the Captain crept out 
from behind the table. The mate raised the 
knife, and felt with his left hand for the Cap 
tain's breast. He stopped, bent down, and ex 
claimed : 

" Curse him ! It's not him at all !" 

He turned swiftly, but at that moment the 
Captain slammed the door of his room and lock 
ed it. Johnson was a prisoner. 

" I know your whole scheme," said the Cap 
tain at the key-hole. 

" Then you know you're no better than a dead 
man," said Johnson. " You've got Menzies and 
the crew to deal with yet. Let me out, and I'll 
spare your life." 

" You'll stay where you are," said the Cap 
tain, " and in less than three hours you'll be 
begging me to spare yours." 

A muttered curse was the only answer, and 
the next moment Johnson hurled his lank form 
violently against the door in a vain attempt to 
burst it open. Three several times he repeated 
the attempt. Then the Captain said : 

" Back to our hiding-place, Frank. We shall 
have Menzies down in a few minutes to see if 
the deed is done." 

A silence filled with the shrieking noises of 
the outer world brooded in the cabin for half 


an hour. At the end of that time the door 
swung open and Menzies, with a glittering 
knife in his hand, strode in. The sallow pallor 
of his face and the red glare of his eyes told 
plainly that he scented danger. He paused for 
a moment to gaze around him, and then sprang 
towards the Captain's room. 

" Is the fool dead, Johnson ?" he called. 

"]X T o!" 

The Captain's voice rang in his ear and the 
Captain's hand was at his throat. John Travis 
had made a mistake. Menzies shook off his grip 
with the strength of a giant, and at the same 
instant drove one of his huge fists into the Cap 
tain's face, knocking him clear off his feet. At 
that perilous moment Johnson pried the lock 
of the Captain's door with his knife and dashed 

" Kill him ! kill him, Menzies !" he shouted, 
springing towards the still prostrate Captain. 

A wild lurch of the reeling bark hurled the 
mate against his associate in crime, and the 
Captain, his head ringing and still dizzy from 
the effects of the blow which he had received, 
arose to his feet. The two mates, recovering 
from their collision, dashed at him. At that in 
stant there was a sharp red flash and a report. 
The second mate staggered, uttered a groaning 


execration, and fell in a limp heap across the 
cabin table. Frank Watson had shot him 
through the breast. 

Johnson, seeing his partner killed and the 
drawn pistol in the Captain's hand, dropped the 
knife and threw up his hands. 

" Don't shoot !" he exclaimed. " I give in." 

" I told you that inside of three hours you 
would beg me for your life. Now you do ex 
actly as I tell you, or you're a dead man. I'm 
going to order that boy to open the skylight. 
You will then call to the man at the wheel and 
say to him : ( The Captain is all right ; he stands 
in with us. Let her off a point.' You under 
stand r 

Johnson nodded tremulously, and the Cap 
tain stepped inside the door of his room, where 
he could cover the mate with his revolver and 
be invisible from the skylight, which Frank 
opened. Johnson shouted his message to the 
man at the wheel, who answered, with a yell : 

" Blamed lucky for him. A point off she 

At a sign from the Captain, Frank closed the 

" Now go into your own room," said the Cap 
tain to Johnson. The mate very sullenly obey 
ed, and was locked in. 



" Keep guard over that door with your re 
volver till morning," said the Captain to the 
boy. " I'm going on deck." 

John Travis ascended the poop and nodded 
to the man at the wheel. 

" Mr. Johnson and Mr. Menzies are taking 
a night in," he shouted in the man's ear. 
" We'll be in port in the morning." 

The man grinned. 

" None dis crew ever been in Bermooda," he 
shouted. " But I t'ink we'll be glad dis time." 

The Captain smiled grimly and walked away. 
Two hours later the gale abated and a light was 
sighted ahead. The Captain took the wheel 
himself and brought the ship to her anchorage. 
When the dawn broke the dazed crew found 
themselves under the guns of Fort Monroe, with 
the ensign flying at the spanker-peak, union 
down. They never knew how it was hoisted, 
and before they recovered from their amaze 
ment a boat was alongside and they were all 
under arrest. And that was the end of the 
mutiny on the Swallow. 


The Strange Tale of a lt Revolution " 

"'W'ES, I'll run your boat down, but I want 
I five hundred dollars for the job. Oh no, 
you understand English all right, and I want 
the money paid in gold before I go." 

The speaker leaned on the back of his chair, 
and scanned closely the faces of the three men 
at the broad table before him. He had ex 
pected and hoped for the summons that brought 
him here before these men, whom he knew were 
confronted by the perplexing problem of find 
ing an engineer to run the man-of-wair La 
Justicia and two hundred troops down to Boca 
las Animas. Since the revolution had stopped 
the work on the breakwater the engineer had 
watched closely the drastic methods of this 
South-American government to pacify its un 
ruly children. He was well acquainted with 
the rebel situation in Boca las Animas ; he knew 


that La Just Ida's engineers had deserted to the 
mountains; and he knew that La Justicia had 
to sail that night; the troops were on board. 
So when the polite summons to the Admiral's 
presence had come, the engineer straightway 
set his price. He felt security in his rights and 
protection as a citizen of these United States; 
he knew the extremity of the men before him ; 
and while they seemed to consider his demand, 
the engineer's mind was busy with thoughts of 
a four-inch pile of twenty-dollar gold-pieces. 

Then the small man of the three, the man in 
gold braid, spoke, and as he talked his southern 
vehemence grew. 

" You," he repeated, fiercely, as he advanced 
towards the engineer " you will run that 
steamer to Boca las Animas, you will serve us 
well, you will not get a cent for it, and, if you 
object, we will blow your head off." 

As the small man stopped talking his ges 
ticulating right-arm was waving over the en 
gineer's shoulder and his angry face was within 
three inches of the engineer's own. 

The engineer's eyes turned to the other men, 
only to find himself fairly covered with a re 
volver by one, as the third man reappeared in 
the doorway, followed by two soldiers. 

" Now take him," said the small man. 

10 131 


The soldiers fell in behind, while the other 
two men took places at his side. The small man 
stood in front and smiled. 

" All right, all right/' broke out the engineer, 
and his voice rose with the anger that mastered 
him. " You've got me now ; but just you wait 
till my government hears of this. We'll blow 
this port back into the mountains. We'll " 

The small man leaned forward and his face 
darkened. " Basta " he hissed " basta, 6 

And a soldier behind, seeing his master's ap 
proval, brought the butt end of his pistol down 
hard on the engineer's skull. 

In these troublous times the sight of a prison 
er on the streets attracts little attention; men 
are afraid their interest will excite suspicion. 
The engineer and his guard passed rapidly 
down the steep hill from the barracks. It was 
growing dark, with good promise of a stormy 
night. Already gusts of rain blew in from the 
sea and rattled against the sheet-iron windows 
of the warehouses. In the darkness and rain 
the men stumbled over the timbers and rocks, 
scattered as they were on the night when work 
on the breakwater ceased. In the lee of the first 
completed stretch of the jetty La Justicia rested 
quietly. To windward the waves flung thena- 



selves against the solid wall, and the spray 
mixed with the driving rain, and tasted salt on 
the lips of the expectant men on the steamer's 

In the darkness and wind the man-of-war 
passed slowly out of the harbor. 

La Justicia had been a freighter. She was 
two hundred odd feet long, and was finishing 
her days as a transport for this South- Ameri 
can federation. The troops were packed close 
ly in her dimly lit holds. They were pleased to 
be dry, and they laughed as the vessel rolled 
till the swinging-lanterns struck the deck-beams. 
This way was certainly better, they said, than 
making the trip in coasting schooners and sloops 
a quarter the size of La Justicia. 

The lights of El Puerto had been soon lost, 
and now the vessel, showing no lights, thrashed 
ahead into the black night. 

In the engine - room the engineer sat and 
smoked. The clanking steel-bars moved and 
flashed regularly, and the damp air blew in 
from the lee doors. In the beginning, when 
orders from the pilot-house came thick and fast 
and kept the engineer busy, his two armed 
guards had watched him carefully. One at each 
door they stood, rifles in their hands. But now 
that the situation was well understood and ac- 



cepted by the engineer, and that he had settled 
himself to his all - night's vigil, guards and 
prisoner sat and chatted together, and the rifles, 
were stowed in a rack. 

La Justicia rolled and pounded ahead into 
the night. Aft, by the steady and faint light 
of a mast-head lantern, a man was unfurling a 
flag of curious design. He bent it to wet hal 
yards and it flung out into the wind as stiff as 
a board. Immediately the darkness swallowed 
it, and in the lantern-light the man heaved long 
at the tugging halyards. 

The engineer had watched and wondered 
from the lee door of his engine-room. When the 
wet ceremony was over he turned to his guards 
for an explanation. At that moment La 
Justicia' s course was changed, for she took the 
seas more on her beam. 

" You are no longer running a government 
boat," said one of his guards ; " but what's the 
odds to you, a foreigner? Government or 
revolutionists, it must be all one. You'll land 
in La Vela instead of Boca las Animas, and 
then your job's over. By to-morrow this vessel 
and every man in her will be with the rebels; 
the whole company have deserted to the side 
where they want to fight, and we are taking the 
boat with us. And it's been no easy matter 



to bring this about ; it would have fallen through 
if the government had not supplied us last night 
with an engineer. And their ways with you were 
none too gentle, and we don't think you bear 
them much ill-will." So the engineer took 
service with the rebels. 

Through the hours of the early morning the 
engineer watched his machinery while his 
guards dozed. The troops slept as they could 
in the crowded holds. Some three hours after 
the vessel's course had been, changed the men 
on the bridge began to feel uneasy as to their 
exact position. Certain of the troops, who had 
often felt their way along this unlighted coast 
in sloops and schooners, were routed out and 
questioned. But they had paid no attention to 
the course, and, being unused to a steamship, 
they had no correct idea of the distance covered. 
Their answers were conflicting and uncertain, 
and served only to increase the apprehension 
of those in charge. There was nothing but 
utter blackness ahead of them, and the vessel 
rolled into it perseveringly. On the bridge 
there was conflict of authority that boded ill 
if danger came. At ten minutes past four the 
engine-room bell clanged, and the engineer 
jumped to his throttles. There was a commotion 

in the crowded holds and excited tramping on 
* 135 


deck. The engineer stood by expectant, and 
stopped and backed as the bells ordered. Then 
came " full speed ahead/' and the engineer 
opened her wide. She took speed slowly, and 
lifted her bows high on a big sea. It was her 
last plunge, for she came down with a crash and 
a shiver on the hard coral rocks, and they tore 
through her iron sides and held her fast. She 
rolled over to port like a wounded bird, and the 
coral cut her through. She righted, and wrench 
ed out life-boats and davits. The engineer was 
thrown from his post, and as he arose from the 
gratings the terrified firemen trampled on him 
in their mad efforts to reach the deck. From 
the holds arose a confused din, and at the 
hatches the officers drove back the frenzied 
troops with a rain of blows from sheathed 
swords. Those on deck stumbled and fell in 
the darkness, and called wildly, till a heavy 
crash of black water left them gasping for 

La Justicia held fast in her coral berth and 
the waters beat at her till morning. Two brown 
bodies rolling on the hard sand in the gray light 
told those on shore that a transport had been 
wrecked. Daylight showed the exhausted crew 
a dim line of beach, with palms showing over 

the hanging mist of the breakers, a mile to lee- 


ward. The sea went down. An hour later the 
white hull of the government tug Augusta 
showed in the offing. She was bearing down 
on them. Immediately there was much excite 
ment among the officers of the wrecked man-of- 
war. Here were rescue and safety, but with them 
came fear of an inquiry into the wrecking and 
a knowledge of the treason that brought it about. 
The officers decided that the silence of each 
and every man on board could alone save them 
from the punishment for their crime against 
the state, and each man was given plainly to 
understand what his end would be should the 
fateful words come from him. The flag of 
curious design had been weighted and cast over 
board. It only remained to decide upon a meth 
od to explain their unexpected position to those 
on board the Augusto. There was much dis 
cussion till the last moment, and the engineer 
watched the proceedings as one apart. He was 
again in the service of the government. It was 
decided to make the Captain of La Justicia the 
scape-goat. His was the ignorance that had 
wrecked the steamer, his carelessness alone had 
lost to the government their best vessel ; and the 
Captain, securely bound, was the first man 
taken aboard the Augusto. 

Three trips sufficed for the Augusto to take 


La Justicia's crew back to El Puerto, and La 
Justicia was deserted at her last moorings. For 
months small coasting-craft, like birds of prey, 
hovered around her and were tied up to the 
iron carcass of the old freighter. Wrecking 
parties were fitted out in El Puerto, and fisher 
men and wharf loafers sailed over for the pick 
ings. Blocks and tackle, rigging, masts, and 
finer furnishings, were the rewards of the first- 
comers. Her wooden decks were ripped up, and 
bolts were unscrewed with infinite labor. Every 
junk-shop in ports east and west for miles had 
stock from the old Justicia. Her hull became a 
landmark along the coast ; she showed up plain 
ly against the low shore behind her; and no 
matter how calm the sea, there were always 
waves to break in white spray against the ever- 
tossing bows of La Justicia. 

The engineer spent the following six years 
in checkered wanderings, until one day he found 
himself on the beach opposite the old wreck. 
He hired a fisherman's canoe and, impelled by 
idle curiosity, paddled over the quiet sea tow 
ards the grim old carcass that stood out black 
against the clear sky. He sought the wreck's 
lee side for a mooring. 

Every now and then the spray poured down 
on the iron deck from the ceaselessly breaking 



waves at her bow. Her port stern was well 
under water, and great masses of seaweed floated 
in and out with the green waves that lifted 
through her gaping bulwarks. 

The engineer found an empty canoe at the 
most avilable mooring. " Some fisherman/' 
said he. He stepped on board, and the blood- 
red iron crackled and fell in flakes under his 

" I was the Captain of La Justicia on that 
last night," the stranger concluded. 

" And I was the engineer," said the Ameri 

The Captain looked his surprise, and after 
a moment's pause, he continued : " And I have 
been in jail six years for that night's work, 
and I am only out now because our President 
is finally in command. It was between you 
and me that night, and you won." 

" How so ?" asked the engineer. 

" As the Augusto approached we decided to 
lay the blame of the wreck on you to say that 
you had disobeyed orders, and lost the vessel 
to revenge yourself on the government for their 
harsh treatment," explained the Captain ; " but 
at the last moment we realized it wouldn't do. 
You as a foreigner had no interest in the revolu- 



tion, and to get square with us you would in 
form the government of our desertion that 
night. So I took the blame and the imprison 
ment. But now I'm to be Chief Collector of 
Customs to the whole republic." 

How a Tidal-wave Helped the Rebels 

WHEN the owners of the Flying Squad, of 
Boston, United States of America, re 
quested Captain Sampson to take a large con 
signment of rum down to Aricco, the chief city 
of the smallest republic in South America, and 
then load up with mahogany for the return 
journey, he responded, gruffly: 

" I ain't goin' into the liquor business, an' 
I'll be blowed if I'll take any hogsheads of 
rum on the Squad. If you want the mahogany, 
I'll go an' get that; but you'll have to get an 
other man to take your rum." 

Captain Sampson was an earnest Methodist, 
and his conscience smote him sharply at the 
mere suggestion of carrying New England rum 
to the natives; but after his energetic protest 
he walked out of the office of the Boston firm 
of ship-owners in an uneasy state of mind. It 



was essential that he should make a living, and 
if he gave up the command of the Squad he 
would be a Captain without a ship, which in 
those days of close competition meant an in 
definite period of idleness. 

Consequently, two weeks later, when the 
three - masted schooner was loaded with the 
huge hogsheads of rum and ready to sail, Cap 
tain Sampson appeared on her deck to com 

" I hate such an un-Christian cargo," he 
muttered, as he paced the forward deck. 
" There ain't nothin' to be gained in takin' such 
a trip, but I can't desert the Squad at my age. 
I must live somehow, an' it wouldn't be livin' 
on land or on any other ship." 

He looked up proudly at the tapering masts 
of the schooner, and then towards the graceful 
prow which had cut the foam of many a sea 
under his management. 

" She's old as I be," he said, " but she don't 
show it. A little paint brightens her up smart 
ly, but new clothes don't make me look young 

When the schooner left port, the crew had 
less objection to the cargo than Captain Samp 
son; but the latter was a stern disciplinarian 
at sea, and in his regular Sunday services on 



shipboard he alluded frequently to the sin of 
carrying liquor to the " heathen." 

Ten weeks from port the Squad sighted the 
headland of Cape Aricco, which, as one might 
guess, was close to the city of the same name. 
The schooner was then brought close up in the 
wind, and her course steered for the lee side of 
the cape, where a small bay promised a good 

Night was drawing on apace when the Squad 
entered the bay. There were no signs of life 
or human habitation on the coast. The city 
and its surrounding suburban population were 
all located on the opposite side of the rocky, 
precipitous headland. 

But just as the anchor chains of the schooner 
rattled over the sides and tumbled with a splash 
into the water a small boat, with a torn mutton- 
leg sail fluttering in the wind, pushed out from 
the shore. As the queer craft approached, it 
could be seen that only one man was aboard, 
and he was a tall, dark, sinuous Ariccan. 

When he swung himself up on the deck of 
the Squad by means of the rope-ladder to help 
him, he coolly inspected the ship from stem 
to stern, and then said in good English: 

" You've had a good voyage, Captain. "No 
ropes or spars broken nothing lost." 



" The Flying Squad never carries broken 
spars an' riggin'," answered Captain Sampson, 

The stranger shrugged his shoulders, and dis 
missed the subject with that questionable action. 

" But your cargo of rum must be all right, 
then," he remarked, without removing his eyes 
from the rigging. 

Captain Sampson started visibly at these 
words, and barely controlled his voice as he 
blurted out: 

" Who said we had rum on board ?" 

" Nobody," the stranger replied, again shrug 
ging his shoulders. " But I judge you have, 
Captain. Haven't you ?" 

Captain Sampson was getting red in the face, 
and his answer indicated the state of his feel 

" It's nobody's business what I have on board, 
an' I don't propose to enlighten anybody." 

A sudden flash of anger leaped into the 
stranger's face, but instantly it disappeared. 

" It's nobody's business, Captain, except the 
owners of this ship and mine. Your cargo 
is consigned to me to me Don Sagua Que- 
sada, of Aricco. Am I not right?" 

Captain Sampson was puzzled. He knew 

his orders were to anchor outside the cape and 


to wait for the appearance of Don Sagua, who 
would give him orders where to land his cargo. 
The faintest suspicion of fraud entered his 
mind, but when the stranger presented indis 
putable credentials that he was the man he 
pretended to be his mind grew easier. 

" Well, where do you want the blamed rum 
discharged ?" he asked. " The sooner I get rid 
of it the better I'll feel, for it's an un-Christian 
cargo at the best." 

The swarthy Ariccan hesitated a moment and 
closely scanned the wooded shore. 

" I s'pose they won't let me land up at the 
city ?" suggested the Captain, not without signs 
of curiosity in his voice and manner, for he 
was not sure but he was a smuggler in trying 
to run a cargo of rum into Aricco. 

" No, they might not at least, until you paid 
a heavy duty on it," Don Quesada replied, turn 
ing quickly towards the Captain. 

" Then I'll be blowed if I'll keep the stuff on 
board another day !" blurted out Captain Samp 
son. " I ain't a smuggler, an' I won't have 
nothin' to do with smuggled goods." 

Don Quesada eyed him a moment in silence, 
and then said : 

" No, it wouldn't be safe to go into Aricco. 

But you can unload here. In twenty-four hours 


I will have men and boats to unload your cargo. 
I have some flat-bottom boats in the cove now 
which will serve our purpose." 

Half an hour later Don Quesada left the 
Squad in his small craft, and just as darkness 
settled over the water they saw him disappear 
in the gloom of the woods. 

" A queer way to do business," reflected Cap 
tain Sampson. " I'd never ship with such a 
cargo again for nobody. I knew something was 
wrong about it. The company wanted me to 
run head foremost into the smuggling business, 
an ? nothin' but my suspicions saved me. Even 
that Don wouldn't tell me until I guessed it." 

Then, thinking of what he would say to the 
owners of the Squad when he returned to Bos 
ton, he walked up and down the port side of the 
schooner with angry strides. 

All the next day the Flying Squad swung at 
her anchor in the quiet cove. There was not a 
sign of life in the neighborhood. A party of 
sailors rowed ashore to secure some fresh water, 
and they reported the place lonely and deserted. 

On the following morning a small steamer 
appeared off the cape, moving rapidly towards 
them. She was flying the flag of the Ariccan 
republic, and as she drew nearer, Captain Samp 
son said, truthfully: 



" She's an armed cruiser. I wonder what 
she wants in this cove ?" 

In a short time it was clear to the crew of the 
Squad that the cruiser was heading for them, 
and that her guns were trained so as to blow 
the schooner out of the water if she attempted 
to run. 

" What's up, anyway ?" fumed Captain 
Sampson. " I guess I'm flying the American 
flag, an' I haven't smuggled anything into their 
little country yet." 

The cruiser came up close to the Squad,, 
and then an officer and crew were lowered in 
a small cutter. When they reached the 
side of the Squad, Don Quesada, dressed 
in the uniform of a second officer, stepped 
on board and, in a sharp, brusque voice, 

" Captain, you are my prisoner." 

" Not until I know why !" shouted Captain 
Sampson. " I'm protected by the American 
flag, an' the man who touches that will have a 
big debt to pay." 

" I don't want to touch your flag. We want 
you and your cargo. You're guilty of carry 
ing arms and ammunition to the insurgents, 
and your vessel is hereby condemned as a fili 

ii 147 


" Sir, the man who calls me an' my boat 
filibusters won't live to see " 

" Gently, gently, Captain, or I might give 
the word to have you blown out of the water," 
interposed the Don. 

Captain Sampson looked at the frowning 
guns, and then asked: 

" Where are you going to take us ?" 

" To Aricco." 

" Then I'll appeal to the American consul 
there, an' we'll see if you can outrage an Ameri 
can citizen in this way. You'll have an Ameri 
can man-of-war here in a month to blow your 
city to pieces." 

Don Quesada merely laughed. 

Another cutter left the side of the cruiser, 
carrying with it the end of a long hemp cable. 
This was fastened to the bow of the Squad,, and 
then with a shrill whistle the cruiser started 
forward with her prize. 

They ran far out to sea first to avoid the 
shoals of the cape, the little cruiser puffing away 
frantically to make decent headway with her 
big load. Don Quesada, who was virtually 
in charge of the schooner, seated himself for 
ward and seemed lost in thought. Captain 
Sampson leaned against the cabin and vainly 
tried to fathom the mystery. He was satisfied 


now that Don Quesada was a government spy, 
but why suspicion had been attached to his 
vessel he could not understand. 

When just abreast of the promontory the 
heavens became overcast with fleecy clouds, and, 
knowing the nature of the climatic changes in 
that latitude, Captain Sampson surveyed the 
threatening sky with some alarm. Don Que 
sada was also interested in the problem, and he 
walked uneasily from side to side of the 

" I don't like the looks of the weather, Cap 
tain," he said. " Do you know anything about 
the weather signs of this region ?" 

" I know enough about 'em to predict that 
we're goin' to have a hurricane pretty soon," 
Captain Sampson replied, sharply, " an' I'd 
like to get ashore before it comes." 

The wind was already blowing briskly from 
the sea. The cruiser, which had been making 
desperate efforts to reach the harbor, suddenly 
veered about and headed for the sea. 

" She's going to run out to meet the storm," 
Don Quesada said. 

" Yes, an' we'll break loose an' be driven 
ashore," answered the Captain. 

The wind-storm increased so rapidly that in 
ten minutes a heavy sea was boiling around the 



prow of the schooner. The stout rope cable 
grew so taut that it threatened to part, and, as 
the cruiser struggled to reach the open sea be 
fore the hurricane was upon her, the heavy line 
trembled and groaned under the strain imposed 
upon it. 

Suddenly the storm rushed down upon the 
harbor and the two ill-fated vessels with all the 
violence of a tropical hurricane. The heavens 
became overcast and darkness seemed to set 
tle over the sea. In the midst of the storm the 
cruiser was shut out from view. 

On board the Flying Squad confusion reign 
ed. Several of the crew and sailors from the 
cruiser were washed overboard by the first 
wave that swept across the decks. Don Que- 
sada and Captain Sampson clung to whatever 
stationary object they could find. 

The falling rigging threatened to smash the 
deck and cabins to splinters, but the wind and 
waves together managed to carry the broken 
spars and debris overboard, so that the careening 
vessel could right herself and face the storm. 
So long as the cable held, the Squad had one 
good chance in five of outriding the storm. 

But no one expected the cable to hold, and 
when it suddenly parted Don Quesada merely 
remarked : 



" There she goes !" 

" Yes ; an' here we go," replied Captain 
Sampson, shouting even above the roar of the 

His remark was made apparent a moment 
later when the schooner veered around and near 
ly capsized in the act. Her bow swung about 
and plunged deep beneath the waves. Then 
suddenly she became overwhelmed by a monster 
wave, but after a momentary struggle she 
seemed to rise higher and higher into the air. 
The sensation was peculiar, and Captain Samp 
son wondered at it. 

But Don Quesada knew more of the peculiar 
phenomena characteristic of the southern tropi 
cal waters. During a lull in the terrible upward 
motion he shouted, aloud : 

"A tidal-wave!" 

This was, in reality, the cause of the up 
ward and onward impetus suddenly imparted 
to the Flying Squad. Through the intense 
darkness of the storm the schooner was rush 
ing rapidly on the very crest of a towering tidal- 
wave towards its doom. Every man held his 
breath. It was a moment of intense mental 

Then out of the darkness, across the stern of 
the ship rose a great black object. It towered 



above them like an ill-fated monster of the sea. 
Then it swept by them amid the roar and suction 
of the terrible waters. It was the dark hull of 
the cruiser caught in the powerful grasp of the 
resistless tidal-wave. 

Then followed a period of confusion that 
seemed like a blank to the crew and officers of 
the Squad. 

Then there was a shock that shook the very 
foundations of the earth. Timbers and planks 
were crushed and splintered, and the Flying 
Squad was a hopeless wreck. 

When the tidal wave retired, and the storm 
subsided sufficiently to make a survey of the 
situation, Captain Sampson found his beloved 
schooner wrecked in the very centre of a tropical 
forest. A dozen yards away he could see what 
looked like a river, and floating quietly on it 
was the cruiser. But her decks were deserted 
and she looked as forlorn and helpless as the 

Don Quesada, who had been roughly handled 
by the storm, suddenly stood up and gazed in 
tently at the queer situation of the two boats. 
Then he broke forth into a laugh. 

*' This is no time to laugh," Captain Samp 
son said, roughly. " You've been the means of 

makin' me all this trouble, an' I won't have 


you make light of it. You're a spy an' a traitor, 
an' I'll hold you responsible for the loss of my 

" How so, Captain ? I didn't bring the storm, 
and tidal-wave." 

" No, but you betrayed me an took me out 
to get caught in it. Now your men are dead 
an' I have the upper hand. You're my 

The Don raised his hand in protest. 

" Listen, Captain; you don't understand. 
Let me explain." 

Again he laughed heartily, and only recov 
ered himself when he saw the threatening look 
spread over Captain Sampson's face. 

" I see you're not in the secret," he began 
again. " Let me explain, Captain." 

" Well, go on if you have anything to ex 

The Don seated himself on the stump of the 
broken mainmast and began : 

" The company should have trusted you 
more, Captain. I see you can be trusted. Those 
hogsheads of rum, Captain did you think we 
wanted them down here? No, no; but we did 
want arms and ammunition. We had a r^volu- 
tion here, but we had no chance without arms. 
So we sent to your country for them. They 


agreed to send them down in hogsheads, Cap 
tain, invoiced as rum." 

Captain Sampson stared incredulously at the 

" Yes, Captain, your hogsheads are all full 
of small - arms rifles, swords, bayonets, car 
tridges, and such things. They were consigned 
to me. I was to have them unloaded, and then 
I would leave my position in the navy to join 
the revolutionists. I knew we would succeed 

" But they got wind of it somehow, and the 
cruiser yonder was sent down to capture you. 
I was second officer on it and I had the pleasure 
of arresting you. There was no way out of it. 
It hurt me as much as it did you. But you 
can't always tell. See now what has happened 
your boat wrecked and the cruiser in the 
river above the forts. What a stroke of 

" I don't see much luck in that," muttered 
the Captain. " Here's the Squad wrecked, an' 
somebody's got to pay for her." 

" You join me, Captain, and I'll pay for her 
when we overturn the government," Don Que- 
sada said, blandly. " Everything is working 
into my hands. Even the elements are aiding 



He glanced at the cruiser still floating in the 
river, and then continued : 

" I'll explain my plans, Captain. All the 
country back of us is in revolt all except the 
city of Aricco. That's protected from the sea 
by forts, but it has no protection from heavy 
guns on this side. This river runs right up to 
the city. Now we have the only cruiser the gov 
ernment owns in our possession, and it is in 
the river this side of the forts. That tidal-wave 
was a godsend, Captain, wasn't it?" 

" I don't quite see it in that light yet," Cap 
tain Sampson replied, somewhat mollified, but 
still dubious. 

" Well, you will comprehend soon what good 
luck has befallen us. I need a good captain, 
and when we capture Aricco I'll make you an 
officer in the navy with a good salary." 

" But the Squad, she's wrecked for good, 
she's broken all to pieces," ruefully remarked 
the Captain, surveying painfully his pet ship. 

" Yes ; and if she wasn't wrecked she would 
be worthless," said Don Quesada. " No man 
could get her out of this forest." 

Then remembering his cargo, Captain Samp 
son started for the hold, remarking: 

" I knew that rum business would bring me 
bad luck, but I must have a look at it. If them 


hogsheads are full of fire-arms I'm a filibuster 
sure enough." 

In the hold of his wrecked schooner a dozen 
hogsheads were spilling their contents around, 
and one glance at the motley array satisfied the 
old Captain that Don Quesada had told the 
truth. When he returned to the deck he said, 
quietly : 

" I'd just as lief be a revolutionist as a fili 
buster, an' I'm that, so you can count on me to 
help in this war. If you want to get that cruiser 
under way, me an' my men will help you." 

Half an hour later the surviving members of 
the crew were aboard the disabled cruiser, and 
when the small-arms were transferred from the 
hogsheads in the hold of the Squad to her deck 
Don Quesada felt that he held the winning 
trump. They worked her up stream by means 
of sails, where the revolutionist army greeted 
them with open arms. 

A week later the city of Aricco fell into the 
hands of the rebels, and the government changed 
leaders the third time in that year ; but in none 
of the previous revolutions did such a queer 
chain of circumstances help the insurgents as 
when Don Quesada and Captain Sampson made 
their flank attack upon the fortified city with 

the government's own cruiser. 


Raiding Oriental Pirates 

"HTHEKE, Bill, she's vanished!" was my ex- 
1 clamation as we rounded the bluff head 
land at last, and I looked vainly for a sign 
of the vessel we had been chasing since sun 
down the night before. 

" Vanished be blowed !" was Bill's prompt 
rejoinder, " a-beggin' of yer pardon, sir, for 
makin' so free. She's on'y took onder the lee 
o* that theer mess of islands, an', as like as not, 
come to an anchor, bein' as she's on'y a pirate 
and black at that an' no better weren't to be 
looked for nohow." 

I was the youngest midshipman on board the 
Sivordfisli, and Bill was acting quartermaster 
aboard, and was besides our chief authority on 
the locality, having been shipped on one vessel 
after another selected for special service against 

the pirates who find shelter among the islands 


between Borneo and the Philippine group. It 
needed little experience to convince one that 
Bill's was the only likely explanation of the 
disappearance of the craft we had been doing 
our best to overhaul, without much success, for 
so many hours, and the most interesting ques 
tion was what steps could now be taken to find 
out her harbor of refuge and capture her. At 
this point I was left to my own conjectures, 
however, for Bill was summoned to give the 
Captain and First Lieutenant the benefit of his 
local knowledge on the poop-deck of the brig. 

It was a glorious morning, and as we had just 
come upon the station the scene had all the 
delight of novelty for me. We had rounded the 
sharp headland which marked the southern 
point of one of the larger islands of the Sooloo 
Archipelago, and had opened a little archi 
pelago of smaller islands that clustered to lee 
ward, glittering in all the wealth of vegetation 
and color which is nowhere to be found in such 
profusion as in the island zone of the Eastern 
seas. The islands were evidently volcanic in 
origin, and their broken peaks and sharply torn 
cliffs and ravines were draped I might almost 
say loaded with a covering of trees and shrubs 
and creepers that glistened and sparkled un 
der the level sunlight. The breeze was so light, 



now that we had got under the lee of the larger 
island, that it did no more than ripple the 
glassy surface of the water, and, as we forged 
slowly ahead, every sail and spar and rope in 
our rigging seemed to sleep on the water along 
side. Beyond and helow it, too, one seemed 
to be able to look down and down through the 
crystal water to an unknown depth, and' there 
to see a thousand strange forms of colored 
corals growing in forests at the bottom, among 
which brightly tinted fishes swam in and out, 
and sparkling jellyfish contracted and expanded 
with a dozen rainbow colors. When I looked 
up again Bill was standing looking at me, with 
a half-smile on his broad face. 

" Well, Bill," I exclaimed, " do you think 
we'll be able to find her ?" 

Bill laughed. " Well, sir, I ain't a-sayin' as 
the Cap'n have exac'ly told me wot he's a-goin' 
to do, but I shouldn't be noways astonished if 
he was to order out the boats ; an' if so be as 
he do, well find her right enough. Though 
mind ye, sir," he added, " I ain't a-sayin' as 
it '11 be a pleasure trip, neither." 

" Oh," I said, delighted with the prospect, 
" of course they'll fight, won't they ?" 

" Well, sir, in course, they're on'y niggers, 
arter all, an' most o' them Borneo niggers at 



that, wi' a sprinklin' o' Portuguese an' trash 
o' that sort a-thrown in ; but get them in a cor 
ner, as ye most times do among them islands, 
and they'll fight if I ain't mistook." 

Half an hour later I learned that Bill's ex 
pectation was about to be realized, as the word 
was passed round that the boats were to be 
ordered out as soon as the men had had break 
fast. It was all excitement in the midship 
men's berth, and the discussion grew warm as 
to which of us should have the good-fortune to 
be included in one or other of the boats, every 
one urging his own peculiar claims to the dis 
tinction. I was no doubt as positive as the 
others, though in my heart I had only a very 
slight hope that, as the junior of the party, a 
place would be found for me. I had all but 
given up hopes, indeed, when the crews had 
been told off to the three boats, and the Captain 
paused for an instant before he named the 
midshipman who was to go in the last. Pos 
sibly an imploring look which I know I cast at 
him had something to do with it, for he hesi 

" Can any of you young gentlemen swim 
well ?" he asked, suddenly. 

I gasped, for I knew that of us four I was 
the only one who could claim to swim even 



decently well. The faces of the others no doubt 
told the tale, for he continued, with a laugh : 

" I thought as much, and it may be a good 
lesson. Besides, there may be swimming to do 
for some of you before you get back. You can 
go, Maxwell," he added, with a nod to me, which 
I wasn't slow to obey, and in a second or two 
more I was seated in the stern-sheets beside Mr. 
Bates the master. 

I should have preferred either of the other 
boats, as the master was not a popular officer, 
but I was too much delighted at my good-fort 
une in forming one of the expedition at all 
to care very much under which command I 
sailed. In another moment the three boats 
were pulling for the nearest of the islands. 
For a time they kept company, and as we coast 
ed along, looking for a passage suitable for 
a vessel as big as the schooner we had been 
chasing, Mr. Parker, who was in the largest 
boat, repeatedly consulted Bill, who was acting 
as lookout-man in the bow of ours, and it was 
easy to see that Mr. Bates didn't like it, though, 
of course, he couldn't say anything. We had 
passed several channels before we met with 
any that seemed worth following up, but at last 
we came to one that Bill thought a likely one. 
The boats were brought to, and Mr. Parker 


held a consultation with the other officers. Our 
Third Lieutenant was inclined to agree with 
Bill that it would be worth while to explore the 
channel, but Mr. Parker himself was doubtful, 
and Mr. Bates was dead against it, chiefly at 
least, so I thought because Bill had recom 
mended it. At last Mr. Parker decided to sepa 
rate the boats, and try several channels at the 
same time. He gave orders that our boat should 
row cautiously through this one, while he would 
take the next, and the Third Lieutenant the 
third, and whichever boat first discovered the 
pirates was to send up a rocket to bring the 
others to its assistance before attempting any 
attack. I could see that Bill approved of the 
plan, but it was evident from Mr. Bates's face 
that he was annoyed at being selected to explore 
the very channel he had been so positive could 
n't be the one chosen by the schooner we were 
looking for. Of course there was no help for it, 
however, and after one more caution from Mr. 
Parker the boats separated. 

The men gave way with a will as we turned 
her head into the channel, and our boat shot 
in between two precipitous islands that seemed 
to rise like a wall on each side, every nook and 
ledge of which was covered with plants and 
shrubs, while creeping-plants ran over the face 


of the rocks and hung in long festoons and 
streamers to the water's edge. The channel was 
deep, though we could see the bottom as clearly 
as if it had been less than a fathom, but as we 
went on I began to fancy Bill must have been 
wrong, for it didn't seem possible that a vessel 
of any size could have come up so narrow a 
passage. I could see that the master thought 
so, too, for he looked as black as thunder when 
ever he glanced at Bill sitting up in the bows 
keeping a lookout. Our oars were muffled, and 
we had been careful to obey orders by keeping 
as quiet as possible, but suddenly Mr. Bates be 
gan to whistle, as if to show that he knew there 
was no reason for caution any longer. I could 
see the men look at him, and Bill half turned 
his head, but of course nobody spoke. 

We had been rowing up the channel for 
perhaps a quarter of an hour, and we had just 
turned into a straighter reach of the passage, 
when Bill turned round quickly. 

Mr. Bates involuntarily stopped whist 

" I ain't sure but wot I heerd something, sir," 
Bill said, in a cautious tone. 

" Where away ?" asked the master, in a care 
less tone that was loud enough to be heard some 




" It seemed to come from the bluff on the 
right bow, sir." 

Mr. Bates threw a quick glance along the 
wall of rock that rose nearly a hundred feet 
overhead, then he broke into a short scornful 

" You must have dreamed it, Bill. Keep 
your eyes open, my man, for I don't reckon 
much on your ears." 

One or two of the sailors laughed. 

" Give way, men," he added. " The sooner 
we get out o' this hole, the better our chance 
'11 be of dropping across the schooner." 

The men lay to their oars, and in spite of 
the muffling the regular throb of the ten oars 
we were pulling came back in an echo from the 
cliffs on each side. We were nearing the upper 
end of the channel, and it seemed as if the 
cliff was closing in upon it so much that I be 
gan to think it ended there, and didn't form a 
real channel between the islands after all. I 
could see that the same idea had occurred to 
Mr. Bates, for he half rose and looked anxious 
ly ahead. 

At that moment I saw Bill suddenly turn 
round and hold up his hand. 

" Hold hard, sir, for Heaven's sake !" he ex 
claimed. Then, as the master didn't seem to 


act on his warning, he added, impressively: 
" Avast, men ! Avast, for yer lives !" 

The men instinctively stopped, but Mr. 
Bates's face flushed crimson as he shouted : 

" Confound ye, give way, men ! You take 
your orders from me!" 

The oars dipped with a fierce stroke into the 
water, and the next instant the boat shot into 
what for the moment looked like open water. 
The cliff on the right had ended suddenly and 
opened into a sort of lagoon, partly alongside 
of the channel and partly running in behind 
the cliff, and there, lying at anchor just behind 
the point, was the schooner we were in chase of. 
It was too late to go back, and, although the 
channel extended a little way beyond where we 
were, it looked as if it ended there. I could 
see the flush fade suddenly from Mr. Bates's 
face, and his lips close tightly, as if he had 
made up his mind ; then with a sudden motion 
of the rudder he brought her head around, ex 
claiming : " Ship your oars, men, and be ready 
to board her !" 

It was too sudden for thinking. With the 
promptitude that comes of discipline the men's 
oars were taken on board in a second or two, and 
yet almost before they lay on the thwarts we 
were alongside. I hadn't had time to think 


what it meant for us, but I had been able to 
see that the deck of the long low craft was 
thronged with men in such numbers as made 
our handful look few indeed. Just as the 
thought flashed through my mind our bows 
touched and scraped along the schooner's side. 
Next moment Mr. Bates, who had sprung to 
his feet and drawn his cutlass, shouted : " Now, 
my lads, follow me/ 7 and, leaping on the stern- 
sheets, made a spring at the low bulwark that 
wasn't higher than his breast as he stood. A 
scattered but pretty heavy volley was poured 
at the same moment into the boat, and about 
half a dozen of our men fell. One of them 
fell across my legs, just as I was about to follow 
Mr. Bates, and knocked me into the bottom of 
the boat. He was a heavy man, and it took me 
a minute to get free and spring to my feet 
again. When I did so my first instinct was to 
glance over the boat. There was only one man 
sitting up on board of her, and that was Bill. 
% At the moment I caught sight of him he was 
seated on a thwart, with the rocket-tube propped 
up between his knees, while he was deliberately 
striking a match. Next moment he had lit the 
fuse, and in another second or so the rocket 
soared with a hiss into the air. At the same 

moment Bill picked up his cutlass, which lay 


on the thwart beside him, and with a wild 
shout, " Kow for them bloomin' pirates!" 
sprang at a bound almost over the bulwark 
beside him. I had done the same at the other 
end of the boat almost at the same moment, 
and both Bill and I reached the schooner's deck 

I staggered and nearly fell over a man who 
lay close to the bulwark, and if it hadn't been 
for Bill I suppose it would have been the last 
of me. The pirates were swarming round us, 
and were now driving the handful of our boat's 
crew step by step before them. Bill had taken 
them on the flank, and for a moment he stag 
gered them. I don't know that he was a great 
swordsman, but he knew how to use his weapon, 
and his unusual strength and headlong energy 
gave him a tremendous advantage over the 
crowd of miscellaneous blacks who seemed to 
make up the pirate crew. Few of them were 
even up to the middle height as we reckon it, 
and only here and there had any appearance 
of much strength. What they wanted in 
strength and size, however, they made up for 
in ferocity, and a more brutal and ferocious- 
looking mass of faces it would, I suppose, have 
been impossible to find anywhere. 

I was barely sixteen, and it was my first 


fight, so it isn't wonderful that my memory 
of details is confused. I know that when I 
stumbled it was Bill's cutlass that warded of? 
a blow aimed at me by an all but naked and 
nearly black ruffian, who fell backwards with 
a fearful cut across his face. Then I recov 
ered myself and did my best; but, after all, 
I can remember very little about it. It was all 
a confusion of yells and curses; blows from 
gunstocks and flashes from cutlasses; a chang 
ing medley of fierce wild faces and glittering- 
eyes that seemed to move and flicker around 
like the changing figures in the kaleidoscope. 
We had fallen back upon the rest of our party, 
but I did not dare to turn my eyes to see who 
were left, though I felt certain there were very 
few, as most of the fighting seemed to fall on 
Bill and me. 

I felt rather than saw that Bill was beside 
me, and we fell back side by side, cutting, 
slashing, thrusting at the wild figures that 
swarmed around us. I had emptied the revolver 
I had carried, and had nothing left but the 
cutlass, and already I felt my arm growing 
benumbed with the unusual exertion. I gave 
one quick glance around, and saw that Bill and 
I were left almost alone. 

At that moment I heard him say : " Time's 



almost up, sir. Ye can swim, can't ye?" I 
didn't turn my head to Bill, but I half turned 
and nodded. He cut a big negro across the fore 
arm, and then he spoke again : " Give back an' 
drop overboard, an' come up under her starn." 

I gave a hasty glance behind me, and saw 
that we were within six or eight feet of the 
bows. I just managed to guard a thrust from 
a cutlass and to spring back out of the way of 
a blow from a gunstock, but in doing so my 
heel caught on a ring in the deck, and, before 
I could do anything to stop myself, I staggered 
backward and fell over the low bulwark head 
long into the water. It was so sudden that, for 
the moment, I had almost forgotten it was ex 
actly what Bill had advised, but fortunately I 
remembered just in time, and as I came to the 
top I dived again and swan under water till 
I came up under the stern. I had scarcely got 
my breath when Bill came up alongside of me. 

We looked at one another, each of us won 
dering whether the other was wounded, and 
then Bill gave a low chuckle. " That ain't bad 
for a beginner, a-beggin' of your pardon, sir; 
the on'y thing's, wot's to be did next?" We 
were both treading water, and Bill proceeded 
very deliberately to look around. Presently 
he broke into the same all but soundless chuckle 



as before. " Blowed if I 'ain't hit it, sir," he 
whispered. " D'ye see that theer thunderin' 
great rock ?" he asked, in the same tone, pointing 
to the cliff, which didn't seem to be more than 
thirty yards or so from where we had taken 
shelter. I looked at it, and could see that it 
descended sheer into the water, but was covered 
by a perfect net - work of creepers that hung 
down its face and even trailed in the water. 
I nodded. " Well, sir, wot we've got for to do 
is just to get onder them leaves, an' quick at 
that; fur I ain't a-sayin' but wot I can almost 
feel them bloody sharks a-nibblin' at my toes." 

I hadn't thought of it till then, but now I 
seemed to feel them, too. " All right," I whis 
pered ; " say when." 

" Theer ain't no time like now, sir, I reckon, 
on'y mind an' swim deep." Bill rose in the 
water as he spoke and sounded without a splash, 
and I followed his example. It seemed a long 
minute before I felt myself come up close to 
the face of the rock, and I could have sworn 
that something was biting my toes, but I was 
delighted to find Bill before me under the 
shadow of the trailing creepers. It was a 
strange place in which I found myself, for the 
rock shelved outward overhead, and the creep 
ers fell like a screen some eight or ten feet 


from the wall. There was a flat shelf of rock, 
on to which Bill scrambled hastily, and I fol 
lowed his example before a word was exchanged. 
Before I had time to look round I heard Bill 
mutter, in a tone of surprise : " Well, I'm blow- 
ed ! though I might V knowed it, too !" 

I looked up, and saw that Bill had already 
gained his feet and was peering curiously into 
what seemed to be a natural passage through the 
rocky promontory, as light was clearly visible 
at its other end. I too regained my feet, and 
looked questioningly at my companion. 

" "Now this here's wot I calls a circumstance," 
he said. " It were out o' this as the noise come 
as I heerd when we was a-comin' up the pas 
sage, if I ain't mistook." No doubt Bill was 
right, for the gap in the cliff was a large one, 
which only escaped notice from either side 
owing to the dense masses of creepers that 
fell from the top to the water's edge. We ex 
plored the great natural archway, and found it 
not more than forty feet through from side to 
side, ending almost at the level of the water on 
each face. On the outer side, however, the 
cliff receded a little instead of overhanging, and 
here Bill discovered a narrow ledge on which 
rude steps had been cut, by which it looked as 
if an active man might easily climb to the top 



inside the creepers. Bill, indeed, had scrambled 
up part of the way, when we heard the sound 
of muffled oars advancing up the passage. 
" Well, I ain't a-sayin' but wot this here's a 
stroke o' luck, neither, sir," he exclaimed, as 
he scrambled down again. " We'll get took off 
comfortable, arter all, an', as like as not, hev 
another smack at them niggers." 

We listened silently as the throb of oars drew 
gradually nearer, and when we judged the boats 
were close at hand we drew aside the creepers 
sufficiently to enable us to plunge in and swim 
off to meet them. It was no distance, for Mr. 
Parker's boat was almost abreast of the place, 
and they stopped the moment they saw us. In 
another minute we were hauled on board and 
I had told my story, breathlessly. By the time 
I had finished the other boat had come up and 
lay by to hear the news. Mr. Parker asked 
Bill and me a lot of questions about the passage 
through the rock, and how the schooner lay 
on the inner side. At last he said : " Then it 
would be no use sending a party through the 
passage, I suppose, Bill ?" 

Bill scratched his head thoughtfully for an 
instant, and then his face lighted up. " No, 
sir," he said, " I ain't a-sayin' as it would, not 

wi' cutlasses, leastways. But if so be as ye had 
' 172 


such a thing as a shell o' some sort, I might 
make shift for to throw it aboard from the mast 
head, in a manner o 7 speaking w'ich is to say 
from the upper deck o' this here thunderin' 

" But you haven't been up there, Bill ?" Mr. 
Parker said, looking admiringly at Bill's reck 
less face. 

" No, sir, I ain't a-sayin' as I have, exac'ly ; 
but if so be theer's anything to be got by goin', 
I'll get there, if I ain't mistook." 

The Lieutenant looked thoughtfully at the 
rock and then at Bill. " Well, Bill," he said 
at last, " it's worth trying. We've got two or 
three hand-grenades aboard. You can take one 
and see what you can do. If you find you can 
manage it, light the fuse and throw it aboard, 
but first give a long whistle and we'll be ready 
to board." 

In another minute we had run the cutter's 
bows into the creepers and Bill had scrambled 
on shore and disappeared. We backed out cau 
tiously, and lay on our oars waiting. Then 
we pulled gently up to the opening of the lagoon 
to be ready for a rush, and waited again, every 
oar just dipping, and each face in a blaze of 
excitement as we listened. It felt like hours, 

and we began to think something must have 


happened to Bill. Every eye watched Mr. 
Parker, expecting the order to go ahead, when 
suddenly a long, shrill whistle echoed and re 
echoed through the passage, followed by a 
hoarse shout, "Take that fur a mess o' bloomin' 
savages !" 

Mr. Parker rose to his feet. " Give way, 
men! Give way!" he shouted almost at the 
same moment, while each oar dipped suddenly 
and both boats shot ahead with a rush. In an 
other moment we had opened the lagoon, and 
were greeted by a savage yell that came from 
the crowded deck of the schooner. It had scarce 
ly reached us when there was a sudden flash 
of crimson light, a great jet of black smoke, 
and the roar of an explosion which instantly 
overpowered the shouts. For an instant it seem 
ed as if the schooner had blown up. Everything 
heaved and rocked; rigging, spars, and masts 
appeared to be collapsing in the dense clouds of 
smoke, and the air seemed to be filled with 
pieces of timber that fell in hail on the water 
around her. 

"Hold hard, men! Back water!" Mr. 
Parker shouted, and by an effort the boats 
were stopped before he had got within the 
radius of the explosion. When we boarded, 

after a minute or two, there was no opposition. 


The deck was burned and blackened; coils of 
rope, and even the clothing on the bodies of 
dead and wounded men, were smouldering; 
part of the bulwarks had been blown away and 
the rigging was hanging loose and torn. The 
greater part of the pirate crew had taken refuge 
below, many of them badly scorched, and they 
were easily secured by our men. One of the 
pirate's boats had evidently been lowered since 
Bill and I had left her, for she was still float 
ing astern. I was looking at her and wonder 
ing whether they had intended to look for us, 
when there was a hail from the foot of the cliff, 
and Mr. Parker turned to me and said : " That 
must be our friend Bill. Take a couple of 
hands and fetch him off ; I want to find out how 
all this happened." 

Bill's story was a simple one, and may be 
told in his own words : " Well, sir, ye see it 
was this way : I ain't a-sayin' as how that were 
exac'ly a ladies' staircase, neither, come to look 
at it close, but in course I goes up. At the top 
it were all a mess o' bamboos an' sich trash, 
conseckens o' w'ich I took longer to fetch an 
anchorage than wot I expected, but w'en I did 
theer warn't hardly anything for to do. Theer 
she were, as it might be a-layin' alongside, in 

a manner o' speakin', the crew on deck an' all 


hands ready. Right amidships they had fetched 
a thunderin' great chest an' filled it chock full 
o' cartridges fur to be handy. Sez I to myself, 
theer's yer chance, Bill Jones, fur to be even 
wi' them bloomin' savages, arter all; an' wF 
that I sounds the whistle, accordin' to orders, 
an' heaves that theer grenade, havin' first light 
ed the fuse o' the same in course, right aboard. 
I ain't a-sayin' but wot it were lucky, neither, 
sir, fur I ain't much o' a shot as a reg'lar thing. 
An' speakin' o' that, sir, I think as some more 
o' our boat's crew hev got to shore, an' I ain't 
a-sayin' but them fellers was a-goin' arter them 
wi' this here boat if so be as nothin' hadn't 
happened oncomf or table." 


A Tale of Fire at Sea 

ONE warm moonlit evening, not many 
months ago, I stood on the bridge of a great 
south-bound steamship. We were somewhere off 
the Florida coast, but far from it, and well to 
the eastward of the Gulf Stream. Consequent 
ly, though the season was winter, the air was as 
balmy as that of a Northern June. The sea 
was perfectly smooth, and a school of porpoises, 
darting close to our bows through the phos 
phorescent waters, gleamed like flashes of liquid 
silver. The first officer, who was on watch, 
stood at one end of the bridge, and I leaned on 
its railing near Captain Ira Carey or " Cap'n 
I," as he was always called by his intimates 
at the other. My companion was as fine a 
specimen of a Yankee seaman as ever trod 
a deck, and had been on the water, boy and 
man, for nearly forty years. Not one of us had 


spoken for many minutes, when the silence 
was at length broken by " Cap'n I," who, 
straightening up and speaking half aloud, as 
though continuing a train of thought, said : 

" Yes, it must have been just about here." 

" What ?" I asked, anxiously, thinking he had 
spoken to me. 

The Captain regarded me in silence for some 
seconds before he answered : " The closest call 
of my Kfe. And though I've sailed these same 
waters a hundred times or more since, I al 
ways look for the place, and never leave the 
deck until I feel certain that we have passed 
it. "Now I am quite sure that we have, so let's 
go below for a smoke." 

A minute later we were seated in the Cap 
tain's spacious and handsomely furnished room, 
where the warm breeze softly rustled the cur 
tains and wafted the fragrance of our cigars 
through the open doorways. 

" Now for it, Captain," I said. 

"For what?" 

" Your yarn." 

"What "yarn?" 

" Why, the yarn of your closest call, of 

" Oh, that ! It isn't much of a yarn, and I 
don't know as I can remember the facts very 


well, anyhow, it all happened so long ago. But 
if you must have it, here goes : 

" It was more than thirty years ago, and I 
was only a youngster, in spite of being first 
mate of the good brig Rover, of and from New 
York, with a general cargo for Mobile. After 
we'd taken in the bulk of our freight, among 
which was a lot of what in those days we called 
( straw goods,' or carriages knocked down and 
wrapped in straw, we dropped down to Bed- 
loe's Island and took aboard five tons of pow 
der. It was in canisters, packed in white pine 
boxes, and I stowed it directly under the main- 
hatch, where it could be easily got at in case 
of accident. With this our lading was com 
pleted, and, having nothing more to detain us, 
we towed down to the Hook and put to sea. We 
stood well to the eastward of south until we 
were clear of the Gulf, and then laid a course 
for the Hole in the Wall, down here in the 

" For a week nothing special happened, ex 
cept that we got blown farther to the east 
ward than we liked, and pretty well out of the 
usual track of vessels passing through the Hole 
in the Wall. At length the last day that any 
of us ever spent aboard the old brig came on, 
bright and hot, with a fair but light breeze that 
13 179 


allowed us to set everything alow and aloft, 
and even to put " stun-sails ' on her. When 
night fell we were not far from where this 
ship was a couple of hours ago, or about two 
hundred miles from the northern end of the 

" That evening was very much such a one 
as this, and found us slipping along as smooth 
as silk, leaving a phosphorescent wake like 
silver ribbons behind us. The ' old man ' and 
I both turned in at eight bells, leaving the sec 
ond mate on deck. It seemed uncommon hot 
and close down below, even for these latitudes ; 
but leaving our doors open for the sake of what 
air did circulate, the Captain and I kept up the 
talk we had begun on deck. We occupied the 
two starboard state-rooms he the after one, 
and I the one nearest the bulkhead that sepa 
rated the cabin from the hold. In this bulk 
head was a door. 

" Getting started on an old sea-yarn, the Cap 
tain kept me awake for more than an hour ; but 
I was getting drowsy at last, and hardly knew 
what he was saying, when suddenly he sung 
out : ' Hello, Iry ! Don't you smell smoke ?' 
I was wide awake in an instant, and I should 
say I did smell smoke. It was what had been 
putting me to sleep, though I had not realized 



it until that moment. I sprang out of my 
bunk and into the cabin. There was no fire 
there, but as I opened the door in the bulk 
head such a burst of red flames greeted me 
that I closed it again in a hurry. Then I made 
one bound up the companionway, yelling to the 
Captain as I went that we'd no time to lose in 
getting out of there. 

" As I gained the deck the second mate was 
taking a turn along the weather side as cool and 
unconcerned as you please, without a suspicion 
that anything was going wrong. He stared at 
me as though he thought I was a lunatic when 
I shouted to him that the brig was on fire, and 
to lower away the gig that hung from the stern- 
davits if he valued his life. At the same time 
I ran forward to call all hands. The tone of 
my voice must have frightened them, for I 
never saw a more scared set of men than those 
that came aft at my summons. 

" A couple of them helped me uncover and 
lift the main-hatch. I thought if the fire 
hadn't yet got to the powder, we might find 
time to throw it overboard, and then have a 
chance of saving the ship. But bless you! the 
flames were not only near the powder, they 
were all around it, and it is a great wonder 
we hadn't been blown to eternity long before. 



As I caught sight of their red tongues licking 
those pine boxes, I got the hatch back into 
place in a hurry and ordered the men into 
the boat, which by this time was towing astern. 
All this had happened so quickly that the crew 
were tumbling over the stern by the time the 
Captain put his head out of the companion- 
way. There he stood staring about him like 
one who is dazed. He had stopped to slip into 
some clothes, and had a medicine-chest under 
his arm in place of the chronometer he thought 
he was saving. 

"With all the calmness I could command I 
reported to him that our powder was liable to 
explode at any instant, and begged him to drop 
into the gig, from which the men were already 
shouting that they were about to cut her adrift. 
The ' old man ' glanced at the boat, and, seeing 
that it was crowded, ordered me to cut away 
the starboard quarter-boat, which also hung 
from davits. 

" At this I hesitated. It seemed like deliber 
ate suicide to remain on that brig's deck a mo 
ment longer, and I didn't feel any more ready 
to die then than I do now. At the same time 
I never had disobeyed an order from a superior 
officer, and I wasn't inclined to do so for no 
better cause than cowardice. So I did as I was 



told; but while hacking at those falls beside 
that smouldering volcano my heart was so high 
in my throat that it came nigh choking me. 
When the boat fell clear and drifted astern with 
the Captain, who had jumped into her as she 
touched the water, yelling to me to follow him, 
I hadn't the strength to do it. My knees weak 
ened so that I couldn't have lifted my feet to 
save me. On my hands and knees I crawled 
aft, and rolled overboard just as the men cut 
the painter of the gig. 

" The instant I touched the water I was all 
right again, and inside of another minute I 
had swum to the gig and was standing in its 
bows watching the brig. She was slipping away 
from us very quietly, but more swiftly than I 
had supposed her to be moving, and her tower 
ing pyramid of canvas, bleached to a snowy 
whiteness or barred with black shadows by the 
moonlight, formed as perfect a picture of ma 
rine life as ever a sailor would care to look 
upon. At that moment I fairly loved the old 
brig, and wished that I could regain her deck 
so as to make one effort to save her. There 
were no flames to be seen, nor even a trace of 
smoke, and I heard one of the men behind me 
mutter that he didn't see why we had left her 
in such a hurry, anyway. 



" The words had hardly left his mouth be 
fore there came the most blinding glare and 
deafening crash that mortals ever saw and heard 
and yet lived to tell of. I was hurled, stunned 
and blinded, backward into the boat ; and before 
I could in any degree recover my senses the 
place where I had stood was crushed into a 
shapeless mass of splinters by the brig's fore- 
yard that the explosion had sent crashing down 
on us. A moment later the boat sank and left 
us eight souls, dazed, bruised, and bleeding 
from many wounds, instinctively clinging to 
the great spar that had so nearly destroyed us. 

" That, I say, was the closest call of my life. 
I hadn't left the brig's deck more than a min 
ute before the explosion took place, and the 
falling yard would have crushed me to jelly 
had I been sitting instead of standing in the 
bows of the boat. Indeed, to go back further, 
if the i old man ' hadn't taken the notion to 
spin one of his long-winded yarns, and so kept 
us both awake for some time after we had turn 
ed in, every soul on that brig would have been 
ushered into eternity without a moment's warn 
ing, and her unknown fate would have been 
recorded as one more of the unexplained mys 
teries of the sea." 

" It was indeed a close call," I said, as the 


Captain paused to relight his cigar, " and about 
the very narrowest escape from sudden death 
that I ever heard of. But how did the brig 
catch fire ? and how were you finally rescued ?" 

" As to how she caught fire/' replied the 
Captain, " none of us ever knew ; but I have 
always believed that it was through the spon 
taneous combustion of a lot of oil-skins that 
formed part of her cargo. As to our rescue, 
we were taken from the yards by the Captain in 
the quarter-boat, which had escaped without 
injury from the shower of heavy debris that 
fell all around it immediately after the ex 
plosion. And that reminds me of another feat 
ure of my ' closest call ' ; for if my instinct 
of obedience had not been strong enough to 
force me to cut loose that boat at the Captain's 
bidding, we should probably have drifted help 
lessly on that yard until we perished from 
thirst or could cling to it no longer. 

" We had no sail in the boat, and it leaked 
so badly that one man was kept constantly bail 
ing. Of course we had saved nothing, not even 
a drop of fresh water or a biscuit. I was in 
my shirt and drawers, while some of the men 
had even less clothing. At first we were help 
lessly bewildered by the suddenness and fright 
ful character of the disaster that had befallen 


us. It had all happened within a few minutes, 
and more than once I rubbed my eyes to see if 
I were not dreaming. While we were in this 
state a mass of floating wreckage, that was 
burning or smoking in every direction about 
us, surged against our little craft with such 
force that she was nearly stove. The hint was 
sufficient, and, taking to the oars, we soon pull 
ed clear of this danger. Then the Captain said 
that as our nearest land was the Bahamas, 
less than two hundred miles away, the best 
thing we could do was to pull in that direction, 
with a slim chance of making one of the isl 
ands, and a better one of falling in with some 
vessel. As all hands agreed that we could do 
no better, the ' old man ' laid a star course that 
he thought would fetch us to one of the Abacos, 
and we set out. 

"I was thirsty before we started, and the 
knowledge that we hadn't a drop of anything 
to drink made me doubly so. Of course I took 
my turn at the oars with the rest, and this so 
increased my thirst that by morning I was well- 
nigh crazy with the terrible longing for water. 
I recalled all the cool springs and rippling 
brooks I had ever known ; and with closed eyes 
I could see the old well at home, with its mossy 
stones, its tall sweep, and its shadowy depths, 


as plainly as I can see you now. I tell you 
what, there is nothing equal to a raging thirst 
for stimulating the imagination. 

" At length the long night came to an end 
and the sun rose, red and hot, from a sea un 
ruffled by a breath. With this our sufferings 
were increased, until finally one of the men 
threw down his oar and declared he would 
rather die where he was than pull another 
stroke. Two others followed his example, and 
for an hour or so we lay idly drifting up the 
slopes of the glassy swells and into the hollows 

" All at once the Captain, who was standing 
up, called out that he saw a sail; and as our 
boat rose on the next swell we all saw it. An 
electric shock could not have dispelled our list- 
lessness more completely. The men bent to 
their oars with such new life that our craft 
sprang forward as though she were engaged in 
a race. An hour showed the strange sail to be 
a schooner and brought her hull in sight. At 
the end of another we were within half a mile 
of her. Then a breeze came only in cat's- 
paws, to be sure, but enough to move her, and 
in the wrong direction. She sailed away from 
us at such a rate that, while we could hold our 
own with her, we couldn't gain an inch. For 


a few minutes we rowed like madmen, Then, 
as we saw that it was of no use, we began to 
yell. Singly and all together we shouted until 
only hoarse whispers came from our blistered 
throats. The schooner might have been manned 
by the dead, for all the notice her people took 
of us. Finally we gave up the hopeless strug 
gle and flung ourselves down in the bottom of 
our boat, where some of the men cried, while 
others swore, and still others lay like logs. No 
one would even look after the retreating schoon 
er, except the Captain, who never took his eyes 
off her. Suddenly he shouted : ' The breeze has 
died out again, and her sails are flapping. Now 
for one more try, men! Kemember it's for 
your lives!' With this he motioned me to the 
tiller, and took my oar. This time we made 
it, and I think I was never so grateful for any 
thing in my life, nor so happy, as when we 
ranged alongside of that little schooner and 
made fast to her bobstay. Up to this time we 
had not seen a human being nor a sign of life 
aboard her. We clambered up over her bows 
and made a mad rush aft for the scuttle-butt. 
As we did so I saw a man near the wheel rub 
bing his eyes and staring at us wildly, as though 
he had just waked. Then we heard him yell: 
6 Pirates ! All hands on deck ! We're boarded 


by pirates !' With that the crew came tumbling 
up from below, where they had been taking 
advantage of the calm to indulge in a late morn 
ing nap. 

" The craft was the schooner Diamond from 
Baracoa, with cocoanuts for Boston. She was 
only about the size of a Gloucester fisherman, 
but she answered our purpose as well as though 
she had been a Cunarder. We could have kiss 
ed every plank of her deck in our joy at tread 
ing them, and at that moment I for one would 
not have exchanged her scuttle-butt for all the 
wells in Christendom. 

" No one could be kinder than were the 
Diamond's people when they learned of our 
misfortune. They furnished us with clothing, 
with food, and with drink to the full extent 
of their means. Then the schooner was headed 
for the scene of the explosion, which we reach 
ed a few hours later. The sea for miles was 
covered with the charred wreckage of the brig; 
but we recovered nothing of value except a few 
cases of patent medicines and the ship's cat, 
which, with half her hair singed off, we found 
floating about on a straw - wrapped carriage- 
wheel. A week later we were in Boston, with 
our recent sufferings well-nigh forgotten, and 
ready to ship for another voyage. They are 


very vividly recalled to me, though, by the 
knowledge that I am in the very waters where 
they were endured, and by passing the place 
of my ' closest call/ as we did this evening." 


Pursued by the Russian Police 

" O CEATCH a Eussian and you'll find a Tar- 
O tar underneath." That is a saying which 
applies to most Eussians, perhaps, but not to M. 
Gremurief. A more gentle soul could scarcely 
have distinguished any babe in arms, nor could 
a sweeter disposition easily be found even among 
the women throughout all the Eussias. Since 
I knew him, it is almost needless to say that 
he kept a curio-shop, for the chances usually 
are, in my travels, that it is to the dealers in 
bric-a-brac that I pay my earliest and most fre 
quent visits. His shop was in St. Petersburg, 
close to the Moscow railway station. It was 
a very small one, yet it contained more altar 
ornaments of real old Eussian bronze, more 
beautiful old ikons, and more ancient oddities 
in brass and gilt ware than any other shop I 
had seen. 



He and his place offered the unlikeliest ma 
terial for an adventure, and yet they provided 
me with the greatest sensation of my life an 
adventure which I should not like to pass 
through again, and yet one which I would not 
have missed on any account. To state the facts 
briefly: During one of my visits to M. Gre- 
murief 's shop I heard the cough of a third per 
son sounding apparently in the room where only 
we two were sitting. In itself it startled me 
sufficiently, though the manifest consternation 
of the shopkeeper gave me much more to think 
of after I parted with him. I asked him what 
the noise was, and it was painful to hear how 
he stuttered and stammered out a denial that 
there had been any sound unless, perhaps, he 
himself had coughed without being aware of 
having done so. On another occasion, while 
I was seated in the shop conversing with my 
acquaintance, a part of the wall behind us 
shook, and a costly Chinese drug-jar fell on 
the floor in pieces. Again I was much more 
disturbed by the frightened, guilty manner of 
the merchant than by the peculiar occurrence 
itself. On another day I sought to relieve 
my lonesomeness with his company. To tell 
the truth, I was not averse to discovering the 
mystery that brooded in his shop and gave 


rise to the incidents I have mentioned. The 
door stood half open, and I sprang up the steps 
and inside with an agility which left no time 
for the inmates of the place to take warning 
of my visit. As I entered a man leaped from 
where he had been standing as if into the wall. 
I saw his figure distinctly in the gloom of the 
dusky place, and next I saw that he pulled 
after him a sort of bureau or set of shelves 
which I had imagined to be an immovable fix 
ture of the shop. 

As if he was fascinated by the sight, or per 
haps horror-stricken, M. Grernurief watched the 
cabinet slide into its place, and I watched his 
face and its look of alarm. Then we greeted 
each other and made an effort to converse to 
gether. It was impossible. Both of us were 
too ill at ease. 

"I will say good-bye to you," I remarked. 
" There is evidently something wrong here, 
and in Russia I have no desire to meddle, or 
even to intrude, where there is anything dubi 
ous or underhand. It is too dangerous." 

" In the name of all the saints, don't mis 
judge me !" he exclaimed. " I live in sufficient 
terror as it is, without the added alarm it would 
bring should you go away to harbor a wrong 
impression of me. I am in your power, but you 


are a foreigner and cannot have any interest 
in ruining me. Come to-night at eight o'clock, 
when the day's business is over, and I will bare 
my secret to you." 

At that hour I returned and found Gre- 
murief and a second man, a stranger, await 
ing me. The shopkeeper was in a high fever 
of excitement, and plunged into his story al 
most as soon as I was seated. The stranger sat 
shyly by in silence, with his eyes on the 

The story Gremurief told me was that he had 
a wild and reckless son who was, what he called, 
a patriot, or, as we would say, a nihilist. This 
son, an engineer at work in Moscow, had sent 
to him the stranger who sat with us, asking that 
he be concealed until the zeal of the police in 
searching for him should be dulled and he 
dared to try to make his way out of Russia. 
Gremurief disavowed sympathy with the nihil 
ists, and I believe he was pursuing no other 
interest than affection for his son. 

" This man is not merely an outlaw," he 
said, looking at the fugitive with something 
more of sternness than I had supposed he had 
the spirit to command, " he is a bungler and a 
fool. Twice he aroused your suspicion by the 
noises he made, and, finally, after repeatedly 


risking exposure by coming out of his hiding- 
place, he allowed you to discover him." 

" My feet ached," said the man, with the 
look of one who knows he is speaking foolishly. 
" Sometimes I preferred a lifetime in Siberia 
to even another ten minutes of the pain which 
so much standing caused me." 

" You will not complain of that pain any 
more," said the shopkeeper. " To-night you 
go out on your travels. I will not harbor you 
another day." 

Then followed a dialogue of the most moving 
character. The fugitive pleaded with the shop 
keeper to reconsider his cruel decision and al 
low him to remain. M. Gremurief was firm 
and almost pitiless. He declared that he had 
lived in terror long enough and could endure 
no more of it. The wretched outlaw pleaded 
and moaned, and even I interceded for him 
like a fool. But the shopkeeper was obdurate. 

" You hid Nikolavitch for three months," 
said the nihilist, " and no harm came to you ; 
yet in my case, after only a week, your patience 
vanishes and you are going to abandon me to 
the wrath of the Czar." 

" I did not hide Kikolavitch," the shopkeeper 
replied, angry, truthful, and completely off his 

14 195 


" Oh, you did you surely did/ 7 the man in 
sisted. " Every patriot in our circle in Moscow 
knows that you did. 77 

" No, my poor friend/ 7 M. Gremurief re 
plied. " You are the first nihilist who, to my 
knowledge, has ever entered my premises ex 
cept my misguided son, of course. 77 

" By whom, then, was jSTikolavitch hidden ?" 
the nihilist persisted. " You know it was only 
your kind heart that saved him. Why do you 
not only spoil a good deed, but put a lie against 
yourself on God 7 s books ?" 

" Fool/ 7 said Gremurief, " it was not I, but 
the Princess Golrouki, who hid Nikolavitch." 

" Take me to her, then. At least, tell me 
where she is. She will not have a heart of 
marble like you. 77 

" She is at her home in the city/ 7 Gremurief 
answered. " But you shall not go to her, for 
she has had risk enough. Her hair has been 
bleached by constant danger for twenty years. 
Hereafter she shall enjoy the peace she has 
earned. 77 

At this the man sprang to his feet and, 
throwing back his head so as to take on the 
attitude which painters give to a victor in the 
Eoman arena, he almost petrified us both by 
what he said: 




" The Princess shall indeed receive what she 
has earned. I am Denisov of the police you 
know my rank and reputation. I have now all 
the proof I need against your son, yourself, 
the Princess, and many others. You cannot 
escape; you will find the front and back of this 
house guarded all night. In the morning you 
will be taken before my superiors. Your Ameri 
can friend may take his leave. I will pay my 
respects to him later, when he will answer to 
the authorities for the company he keeps and 
the republican sentiments I have heard him ex 
press during his visits here." 

Twenty hours later I sauntered into the 
hotel at which I was stopping. Nothing had 
come of the police official's threat, and I could 
not bring myself to believe that I was in danger. 
I passed along a side corridor towards my room. 
Suddenly a man who was walking ahead of me 
turned right-about face and spoke to me with 
a torrent of whispered words. 

" The police are waiting for you in your 
apartment," he said. " They have taken your 
money and your passport which you left with 
the landlord. Go to your room, and nothing 
can save you from continuing until the oblivion 
of Siberia envelops you. They connect you 
with some great nihilistic plot, and, though you 


are innocent, they will swear your liberty away 
in order to gain the more credit for zealous 
work. I am a friend of the Princess Golrouki, 
who has risked everything, and now has lost 
everything, for the cause of liberty. She prays 
for your escape. Turn at once, follow me, but 
do not speak to me either in this house or in the 
street unless you wish me harm. I will take 
you by a back way to the street. Then you must 
shift for yourself." 

In an hour I was aboard the ship 'Alexis as 
it steamed down the Neva, bound for Stock 
holm. It was the same boat on which I had 
come to St. Petersburg, and the Captain and 
I were friends. In the morning, at breakfast, 
I sat at the Captain's left hand, and he said, 
motioning to the opposite seat : " Inspector 
Denisov, a high official of the police, is on board 
and will eat with us. He is on a serious errand. 
A foreign nihilist is among the passengers, it 
seems, and is to be arrested at Helsingfors if 
he does not try to get off the ship before we 
reach there. He is charming the Inspector, 
I mean. I will introduce you. By-the-way, 
you have not yet given me your passport. I 
must trouble you for it, as our companion at 
table desires the papers of all the passengers to 
be submitted to his inspection." 


I blushed rose red and stammered something 
about my papers being in my trunk. For an 
instant the hope that I could retain possession 
of the paper lingered in my mind, but I quick 
ly dismissed it. Of what use could it be to post 
pone events, since it could be but a question of 
a few hours' time when all my belongings, and 
my person as well, must pass into the custody 
of my pursuer. 

" It is all right, since I know you/' said the 
Captain. " Give it to me as soon as it is con 
venient." Then the official came in to break 
fast the only man I feared in all the world. 
We were introduced, but he did not betray any 
peculiar interest in me, and thereafter we chat 
ted at our meal-time meetings as if there was 
nothing whatever, except agreeable acquaint 
anceship, between us. 

At Helsingfors, in Finland, the sun had set, 
and the night was moonless and cloudy. The 
darkness soon became intense. When the ship 
turned to make the harbor, Inspector Denisov 
touched me upon the shoulder and said : 

" You will go ashore here. I have had your 
luggage put on deck. Though you have no 
passport, I will answer for you to the police." 

I turned and, walking across the ship and 
then the whole length of it to the stern, sprang 


overboard without a notion of what I was go 
ing to do if I should have the good-fortune to 
save myself from drowning. I merely took the 
precaution to see that no one was looking or 
was near by. Being an excellent swimmer, I 
struck out boldly, and directed my strokes tow 
ards the dark shore beside the lights of Hel- 
singsfors, many miles away perhaps farther 
than a man should try to swim. 

" Why so fast ?" I heard, in the voice of 
Denisov, behind me on the water. " Can we 
not swim together for company's sake ?" 

I was startled and mortified to find that he 
was still pursuing me, and in this fashion, so 
desperate for him as well as for me. I made no 
reply, nor did I moderate my strokes. 

" This is not at all a Russian bath," he called 
again. " Don't you find it cold ?" 

I would not answer him. I swam on and on, 
and hearing no more from him after half an 
hour had passed, was hopeful I confess it 
that he had taken a cramp and gone down. 
After several minutes more of sturdy swimming 
I saw a long black hulk rising above the water 
before me. I swam to it, found a rope hang 
ing down to the water's edge, and clambered 
up the steel side of the vessel, to find myself 
on the deck of a torpedo-boat. When I stood 


upright a man in naval uniform came up out 
of a round hole in the deck and endeavored to 
talk with me. While he and I were trying to 
understand each other a cry in Russian, coming 
from the water beside the vessel, interrupted us. 
It was Denisov's voice. The man in uniform 
pulled him up on the deck, and there he and I 
stood once more face to face like me and my 
problem how to escape. 

Denisov addressed himself with authority to 
the naval man, who touched his hat with ser 
vility and disappeared between-decks. 

" There is only one other man on board," 
Denisov said to me ; " but fortunately this one 
is an engineer and the other is a stoker or fire 
man. This is a new vessel on its trial trip. 
It has not yet been delivered to the government, 
but I have asserted my authority, since it is a 
Eussian vessel, and we are to be taken to the 
town. It is better than swimming. Will you 
go forward to the officers' quarters ?" 

" I will stay here," I replied. 

" As you please," said he. " I think I will 
follow your example, since there is no one else 
to steer the boat. I advise you to go below. 
You will be ill if you do not go out of this 
raw wind." 

" I may as well surrender to you," I said ; 


and I noticed that as I spoke a tremor ran 
through the vessel, betokening the beginning of 
the movement of the engine. 

" You are wise," he answered. " I wish I 
could promise you something more agreeable 
than Siberia. Still, if you have not seen that 
country it may be as well to have a look at it." 

" You carry too many guns for me, as we say 
in America," I replied; and I felt the vessel 
quiver and shake, and heard the screw splashing 
in the water behind me. 

Denisov, put somewhat more at ease by my 
declaration of helplessness, tugged at his sop 
ping clothes to get at his cigarettes and find 
whether by any chance one of them was smok- 
able. While he was awkwardly wrenching at 
his hand to release it from his wet pocket, I 
leaped forward and, planting both hands upon 
his shoulders, flung him back into the gulf. At 
the same instant I ran to the wheel and, putting 
it hard about, turned the vessel in a sharp 
curve out to sea and westward towards Sweden 
and freedom. The engineer was not putting 
on the headway that I required, so I ran down 
the light ladderlike companionway and yelled 
to him: " Politseiskoi govovite skorei; mukha 
poshol skorei," a barbarous effort to say that 
the police officer bade him hurry, fly, go faster. 


" Da, da," said the engineer, and the narrow 
wedge of a boat leaped ahead almost like a fly 
ing-fish, now partly above the little waves, now 
washing her foremost half in the water she 
threw up ahead, and all the time throbbing as 
if she would loosen the plates which sheathed 
her sides. 

Successful as my bold effort for freedom at 
all hazards had thus far proved, I was far from 
confident that it could be carried out to the end. 
I knew that if there was a war-ship at any port 
on the coast between me and the Baltic, it would 
be ordered by telegraph to capture me, and con 
sidering the powerful search-lights which all 
such vessels carry, how could I hope to escape ? 
True, my boat could steam faster than a battle 
ship, but a well-aimed shot would bring me to 
terms, if not to the bottom. And then there 
was the engineer! It would require nearly 
seven hours of steaming at the highest speed, to 
reach the other side of the sea, and this man 
was only ordered to go to Helsingfors, close by. 
In a few minutes he would come up on deck 
to see why we had not ordered him to slow 
down or stop. He would find himself at sea. 
What then? I could not answer that question. 
I kept my place at the wheel and trusted to 
luck or pluck, whichever would serve best. 


As I had expected, presently the engineer came 
on deck. He asked me in pantomime and in 
Russian where the police officer was. I pointed 
below. He looked about him at the sea and 
went back to his engine, puzzled and shaking his 

" He will come up again," I said to myself, 
" and I will throw him down and tie him, leav 
ing the engine to run itself. But where shall 
I get a rope ?" 

The vessel leaped onward as fast as ever 
boat ploughed sea on earth, and I stood at the 
wheel straining my eyes for men-of-war or head 
lands or moving vessels in our path. I fancied 
I heard a human cry, but, as it was not repeated, 
felt certain that I had been mistaken. 

In time I thought of the rope by which I 
had pulled myself aboard the boat. " The very 
thing I want," thought I, and, opening my 
pocket-knife to cut it with, I went to look for 
it, feeling the edge of the boat with one hand 
as I made my own way on hands and knees. 
In the inky darkness I could not see two feet 
before me, yet I did distinguish something of 
lighter hue than the atmosphere on the edge of 
the deck. I reached out and felt a human 

I passed my own hand over the side and 


felt the sleeve of a tautened arm below the 
hand. Grasping it with both of my hands, and 
pulling with all my might, I felt the owner of 
the arm assisting me, and in another moment 
I had him so that he got a knee on the deck 
and was saved. I flashed my pocket-lamp in 
his face. It was Denisov. He tried to stand, 
but when I pulled him upon his feet he fainted 
and fell in my arms. I dragged him to the 
middle of the deck, and, after steadying the 
vessel's course, crept to the side again and cut 
off the rope by which he had evidently clung 
to the vessel ever since we started. Then, long 
and hard, but wholly in vain, I tried to revive 
him. As he was warm and breathing, I ran 
below and fetched up two blankets. Aifter 
rolling him up in one and using the other as 
a pillow under his head, there seemed nothing 
more to be done for him. During the time 
spent in all this work we passed close beside 
two sailing-ships, half a mile apart, but were 
not noticed by the people aboard either one. 

An hour must have passed before the en 
gineer came on deck again. This time he was 
disturbed and vociferous. He signalled to me 
that Denisov was nowhere below. I flashed my 
light in the police official's face and made signs 
that he was asleep. The mere glimpse which 


lie got of the pallid face of my captive caused 
the engineer to suspect that he was being de 
ceived. He bent forward to feel the body, but 
I pushed him back to an upright position and 
sternly bade him return to his post. He turned 
sullenly, and as he was lowering his body into 
the opening in the deck I sprang forward, pass 
ed the rope under and around his arms, and 
pinioned them securely behind his back. Then 
I assisted him down the ladder by holding the 
collar of his coat, and, following him to the en 
gine-room, pressed the muzzle of my revolver 
against his forehead as a hint of what would be 
fall him should he cause me any trouble. 

For at least another hour the boat sped on 
and I kept her to her course without further 
adventure. Then the engineer called to me and 
begged me, with much groaning, to untie his 
arms. I did so, and with an alacrity that im 
pressed me he sprang to the engine and manipu 
lated certain of its levers and faucets. I un 
derstood, from the signs and motions he sub 
sequently made, that he desired to impress me 
with the necessity for his being free to use his 
hands in running the engine. He promised full 
obedience and the highest speed the engine 
could make. Greatly eased in mind, I left 
him, carrying my rope with me. But on deck 


I found Denisov moving restlessly and regain 
ing consciousness. 

When I spoke to him he said he was dead. 

" Forgive my sins," he groaned ; " I was 
drowned at sea and there was no priest." 

It was with great difficulty that I made him 
understand that he was alive and safe, but that 
I would not hesitate to throw him overboard 
again unless he acknowledged that the tables 
were turned and he had become my prisoner. 

" You have saved my life," he said. " I will 
not put a straw in your way after this. Let 
me go below and get into bed." 

" !N"o," said I, on second thoughts, " I will 
not trust you. You have your duty to your 
Czar to perform and that is above everything 
even above truth and honor with you Rus 
sians. If you attempt to go below, if you even 
attempt to get on your feet, I swear I will kill 


" You are right," he said. " I will be frank 
with you because you are brave, and I owe you 
thanks for taking me on board. I would break 
any oath if I could get a chance to take you back 
to Russia. ~Now I will beg one favor. If we 
are overhauled by a Russian war-ship, promise 
to tie my hands so that it shall be seen that 
you overpowered me." 



" I will tie them now," said I. " Eoll over on 
your stomach and put your hands behind you." 

He obeyed. I pinioned him, as I had done 
with the engineer like a fowl made ready for 
the oven. As I straightened back to an upright 
posture I drew a long breath and almost shout 
ed. I believed myself sure of regaining my 

On and on, ceaselessly, like a bullet skimming 
the sea, the arrowlike vessel shot forward, kick 
ing the water behind it with its whirling foot. 
Hours passed hours that were like days to me 
and still we skimmed along. At what I 
thought was Hango, but what must have been 
a port of the Aland Islands, I saw a search 
light flashing, streaming, sweeping the sea in 
the distance behind me. It never once was 
turned in my direction, and I believe that the 
men who manipulated it did not imagine that 
my boat could have already passed them. 

Gray came tingeing the east, and a faint 
cloudlike wall of distant land was becoming 
vaguely distinguishable a few miles ahead, 
when I noticed that the engine was slowing up. 
The engineer came on deck and, after touching 
his cap in token of his respect, held out both 
hands with a gesture of despair. I bade Denisov 

question him. 



"The fuel has run out/' said he. "The 
engine will stop in a few minutes. The en 
gineer says he sees land ahead and asks if it 
is the Alands." 

" It must be," I replied. 

" You have done bravely," said Denisov ; 
" but you have lost. I shall have the pleasure 
of your company all the way back again." 

As he spoke my quick ears caught the sound 
of a steamer's screw in the distance. I ordered 
the engineer below and scanned the sea. The 
engine stopped while I was looking and listen 
ing, and we began to crawl through the water. 
We were headed directly for a wooded shore 
and were not above a mile from it. After 
looking at it intently for a few moments I 
turned and saw the black mountainous hulk of 
a great ship breaking through the morning gray- 

" Go below instantly," I said to Denisov, and, 
lifting him to his feet, I almost pushed him 
down the hole in the deck. I was sure that he 
had heard and seen nothing of the ship which 
was bearing down on us, and I wanted him out 
of the way lest we should be hailed in Russian 
and he should answer in my place. 

We crawled on, and the black monster shot 
ahead and passed us. I hoped we had not been 


seen we were so small and low in the water 
but presently I heard a confusion of voices on 
the great ship's deck, and next I saw her side 
lights coming into view. My craft had been 
discovered and my pursuer was turning to over 
haul it. 

When I was certain that this was the case I 
slipped overboard and began to swim for the 
shore, now not half a mile away. I heard the 
torpedo-boat hailed while I swam. From the 
beach I could see a small boat put out from 
the ship and move towards the torpedo-boat. At 
the same instant the morning mist thinned 
around the ship, and I saw that she was a bat 
tle-ship flying the French flag. 

With fear spurring my heels, I plunged into 
the woods and ran. It was evening before I 
came to a town and found that I was in 


In the Depths of the Sea 

IT was neither pearls nor treasure-trove that 
tempted me, but that which sends men to 
freeze under the arctic sun, to burn in African 
jungles, to starve on Siberian wastes the love 
of science. To add to the sum of the world's 
knowledge; to make life endurable where be 
fore existence only was possible ; to strive with 
out certainty of reward ; to brave death under a 
thousand terrors these are the endeavors and 
these the hazards of the scientist. 

When Morley incredulously asserted it could 
not be done, I contended as stoutly that it 

" Only give me three months, Professor 
Dale," I urged for I could talk then, like 
other men; now I can only whisper, and that 
with much difficulty " only give me time 
enough to construct my armor. I will descend 
is 211 


not only five hundred feet, but twice five hun 

" Descend you may," put in Morley, " but 
you'll never come up again." 

" There you are wrong, my dear Morley," 
observed the professor, reflectively. " The real 
difficulty is to get down. Once down, the ques 
tion of pulling him up is comparatively 
simple " 

" You mean dead or alive," I suggested, 

" Quite right," assented the professor ; " that 
is just what I mean dead or alive." 

" But will you let me try it, professor ?" I 
pleaded, as the three of us left the restaurant 
and started towards the Institution. 

" I am curious to see what sort of a suit you 
will contrive for the purpose," mused the pro 
fessor, gently, sniffing a new material wonder, 
like the enthusiastic old scientific dog that he 
was. " We sail in three months ; if you can get 
your apparatus into shape by that time, we 
will take it along, anyway. I shall have to 
limit you to about a thousand dollars for get 
ting it up you know our entire appropriation 
is not overlarge," said Professor Dale, revert 
ing to the business end of the proposal. " But, 
Frederic," he continued, relapsing into one of 


his gentle rhapsodies, as he gazed mildly at the 
big white dome of the Capitol ahead, " if you 
succeed, your name will outlast old Smithson's 
itself. A thousand feet," he mused, greedily 
as most men would muse over " a million dol 
lars " " a thousand feet. I would rather be 
the man to walk on the ocean-bed a thousand 
feet in depth below than be President of these 
glorious United States." 

It was a way the old gentleman had a way 
by which he fired us and set us wild to em 
bark in any desperate enterprise which promised 

When he spoke I thought as he did. And 
now ? Well I don't know ; but I have at least 
this consolation: There are many great men 
alive ; but there is only one man living who has 
counted a thousand feet of sea-water above his 
head and I am that man. 

Morley said I never would live to tell the 
tale; and he was right I never did. But I 
can hold a pen as well as the next, and so may 
write the tale I cannot tell. 

Morley and I were attaches of the Smith 
sonian Institution. Professor Dale was the 
head of our division. "No wonder we were en 
thusiasts. We counted our Institution the most 

glorious on earth. Any one of the scores of 


young men who labored in it would have held 
his life cheap if by giving it up the name of 
the Smithsonian might shine brighter in sci 
ence's domain. 

Morley, my chum, a New York boy he was 
really no more was as deeply imbued with 
this loyalty as anybody. He had, indeed, only 
one passion besides his love for reptilia that 
was for bananas; harmless enough in itself, 
yet of singularly unhappy consequence to me, 
as you shall see. Morley, I am persuaded, 
would have laid down his life for the Smith 
sonian. Yet had he been obliged to choose be 
tween abandoning the Institution or giving up 
bananas, I fear we should have lost a valuable 

The government had just placed at our dis 
posal a man-of-war the Gladiator for an ex 
pedition to the South Sea islands. Incidentally 
Professor Dale, detailed in charge, was desir 
ous of investigating deep-sea life in the Pacific, 
least known and noblest of our oceans. It was 
in this research that I proposed to aid him by 
an undertaking so extraordinary that many 
there were who looked on me as no less than a 
madman to attempt it. But when did scepti 
cism or ridicule ever deter the true disciple of 
science ? 



I believed that I could construct a diving- 
suit an armor, in fact which would enable 
me to descend to depths of the ocean never be 
fore penetrated by man, and thus obtain speci 
mens of organic life hitherto unknown to sci 
ence. The idea was bold, yet the ablest men 
whom I consulted did not condemn it as pre 
posterous, as my correspondence still shows; 
and when Professor Dale gave me leave, I went 
to work vigorously to make ready for the 

The time was short, and my first efforts dis 
couraging. I consulted every builder of diving- 
suits in the country; but when I told them I 
required an armor to sustain the terrific pressure 
of the sea at the depth of a thousand feet they 
threw up their hands. 

In the end I was compelled to construct it 
myself, and in this endeavor I certainly made 
marked advances on anything previously at 
tained in the line of diving-suits. One thing 
alone gave me serious trouble the glass bull's- 
eye for my helmet. 

I spent nearly a month of my precious three 
in Pittsburg working on bull's-eyes. 

" I must have a glass," I said, " which will 
withstand the pressure of twenty atmospheres." 

One glass-maker alone would talk to me. 


" I can make it," he said, quietly, " if you 
can test it." 

" Then go ahead." 

" First convince me that you can test it," he 
rejoined. " How will you do it 2" 

" With a sledge-hammer." 

He paused a moment, but he saw the force 
of the suggestion; the trial began. 

For four weeks skilled workmen turned out 
lenses of unheard-of strength and tenacity. One 
after another they were shivered into pieces 
under my sledge. But stoutly persevering, they 
made at last a lens which even the blow of an 
eight-pound hammer could not fracture. In 
twenty-four hours I was ready, and none too 
soon. That very night, slipping her anchor, 
the Gladiator steamed down the Potomac for 
her long cruise. 

A good while before we reached our distant 
destination I had perfected the details of my 
descent. Every day I went over the points with 
Professor Dale and my fellow-worker Morley. 
Into his hands I proposed to commit entire 
charge of the arrangements for my safety while 
under the sea. Professor Dale and Morley, it 
is true, were interested in many things; I in 
but one. A successful descent in my steel and 
glass shell would revolutionize deep-sea diving. 


The risk, indeed, was tremendous, but the in 
centive inspiring. 

So thoroughly had I gone over my plans that 
by the time we rounded the Horn I was not 
only confident of success, but impatient for the 
fateful day to arrive. The whole crew were 
interested in my undertaking. What they 
couldn't understand was, why I was willing 
to court so strange a death merely to secure a 
bucketful of ooze from the bottom of the sea. 
Ooze, it is true but such ooze! Ooze which 
the eye of man had never yet seen in appreci 
able quantities. Ooze teeming with a million 
forms of life which no microscope had ever yet 
revealed, which no scientist had ever yet de 
scribed. The game was appalling, but the stake 

Towards the end even Morley became in 

" Hanged if I don't wish I was going down 
myself," he admitted, when at last the day 

We lay off the coast of one of the countless 
smaller islands of the Navigator group. That 
morning the sea lay outspread like a vast mir 
ror. The sun had barely peeped over the cocoa- 
nut-trees to the east of us when I gave Morley 
my last instructions, bade everybody good-bye, 


and stepped into my armor. On the main-deck 
the Captain had rigged up a pony-engine to 
supply my air-pump ; a small dynamo was belt 
ed to it to provide me with light. 

Morley had charge of the engine; my last 
words were to him: 

" If you ever expect to see me alive again, 
my dear Morley, watch the air-supply. I'm 
ready ; close the slide ; tell the boys not to pay 
out too fast not over a foot a second. Good 

I felt the jerk of the tackle as I was swung 
over the rail, and perceived almost instantly 
by the fading of the light that I was descending 
into the sea. I turned on the electric bulb and 
realized that I was an awe-inspiring intruder 
into the submarine world. Strange fishes, 
reptiles of hideous proportions, and monsters of 
horrid shape stared in vague and awful silence 
at me as I gradually sank below them. A 
colossal shark rubbed fondly against my bull's- 
eye, as if he fain would know more of the 
kernel of this strange shell. But I gave the 
bravo little heed ; if he nipped at me he would 
have aching jaws to nurse for his pains; my 
armor bristled with steel spikes. 

I was fast descending to deeps where no 

shark could live, because of the mere pressure 


of the sea. By the watch which hung suspend 
ed in front of my eye, five minutes had passed 
since the water closed over me. I estimated 
that I was already 300 feet down a third 
deeper than diver had ever before penetrated. 

Our previous soundings at this point chosen 
with reference to them had indicated bottom 
at 170 fathoms. The enormous pressure of 110 
pounds to the square inch on the tiny gauge at 
my eye-piece caused me to realize for the first 
time the frightful dangers of my position. For 
an awful instant I would have given the world 
and my dearest hopes for a sight of the sun 
once more much I doubted I should ever again 
behold it. 

Fish and reptile and monster were now far 
above me. Better than man has ever known I 
then knew the stillness of the ocean depths. 
In the silence which oppressed me ghastly creat 
ures too horrible to live and yet living in 
this scene of dread moved sluggishly in their 
grewsome haunts, heedless of my presence. To 
my deceiving senses it seemed as if this com 
pany of misshapen monsters was ever rising 
out of a bottomless pit before my startled eyes. 
It was as if I hung motionless in the midst of 
an endless procession of horrors. But the dead 
ly pressure on the gauge pushed the pointer 


higher on the dial. My watch, tripping now 
like a steam-hammer, instead of ticking gently 
its accustomed music, warned me that five min 
utes more had passed. 

I must now be, I calculated, 600 feet below 
the ocean level. 

All at once the sluggish objects about me 
ceased to rise in other words, I had ceased 
to descend. Something had gone wrong above ; 
a sweat dewed my forehead. Carefully I 
breathed the precious air, fearful of a present 
stoppage. Narrowly I watched the pressure- 
gauge; the pointer quivered stationary on the 

Mechanically my eyes turned to the watch. 
How long was it to last? A minute passed; 
then, to my infinite relief, my grisly companions 
began once more to rise ; I was sinking. With 
that certainty all nervousness left me. I was 
now so far below the possibility of human help 
that peril became to me a matter of indifference. 
The springing of a single rivet meant instant 
death ; even to that I had grown resigned. One 
wish, one hope, one resolve, animated me now 
to get to the bottom ; to fill my steel bucket ; 
to signal an ascent. After that well, I asked 
no further. 

Of a sudden I was seized with an uncontrol- 


lable curiosity to see and know more of what 
was now around me. My electric bulb threw 
a hazy light through a radius close about me, 
but it faded into a darkness which now became 
a mystical Tantalus to my disordered nerves. 
Five minutes more had passed ; still I breathed 
but 900 feet below the keel of the Gladiator. 
I hung in the midst of a slime which I could 
almost feel through my metal coat. Millions 
of tiny forms of marine life, jellylike, impal 
pable, still rose above me. I looked at the pres 
sure-gauge; the pointer stuck fast at the limit 
300 pounds to the square inch ; but even this 
made no impression on me. By the comparative 
slowness of my descent I knew I must be near- 
ing bottom. So enormous was the pressure that 
it practically held my immense casing of steel 
in suspension. I floated on the tremendous 
strength of twenty atmospheres. I stuck im 
movable in ooze. Was I at the bottom ? I could 
not tell. But bottom or not, I well knew that 
the time had come to act. The automatic de 
vice on the big metal bucket at my feet needed 
only the pressure of a lever to close it, and with 
the movement I knew that my treasure of slime 
and ooze was secure. I was beset with a de 
sire to scream in triumph. But who was there 

to hear? Again, as childish impulse shifts, I 


became suddenly frantic to leap with a single 
bound into air and sunshine. I tore open the 
electric circuit it was my signal to Morley to 
lift me ; then I waited. I waited ; but now in 
darkness. In signalling I had destroyed the 
light above my head. 

It is a serious thing to make a mistake in 
daylight, but infinitely more awful to make 
one in the midst of darkness. I no longer had 
the means of determining whether I was rising 
or whether I hung motionless. My watch, tick 
ing like a fire-bell in the blackness of my prison, 
only served to heighten the disorder of my 

Times I felt sure I was moving strained my 
ears to catch a sound from without ; times again 
I felt I must be hanging motionless in my liv 
ing tomb. And was it now my imagination 
was my reason going or was the air about me 
becoming foul and breathing difficult? 

My senses wavered; a prayer died on my 
lips. My brain seemed to expand with the 
pressure of an exquisite torture. I choked with 
a nameless fright; I strove with a madman's 
fury to burst the steel casing which alone pro 
tected me from instant death ; I craved it now 
death if only it came dreamless and quick. 

My fury spent itself in useless raging ; I had 


builded too well. But with my declining 
strength my torture increased. My ear-drums 
were being irresistibly pushed into my head; 
my eyes were oppressed with crushing weights ; 
my tongue swelled in my throat ; once filled, I 
could no longer expel the air from my lungs; 
they seemed distended to bursting. I realized 
that it was death creeping slowly over me, and 
with the dumb agony of fading consciousness 
I beat at the heavy bull's-eye with uncertain 
blows. A consuming thirst devoured me; I 
bloated with a parching drouth ; my head sank 
in the stagnation of coma. In a frenzy I strove 
once more to wrench open the helmet ; something 
burst with a terrific shock ; I felt water pouring 
into my throat. The welcome flood had come, 
the sickening pain had gone, and with it went 
consciousness and life. 

Can you imagine what had happened ? Guess 
a thousand times, and I think you still would 
miss it. 

I have put the question to a thousand boys, 
and now I put it to hundreds of thousands; 
but none will ever guess. What really happened 
was so trivial, and yet so fatal in its conse 
quences, that it seems a burlesque to explain it. 

Morley, I have told you, had charge of the 


pony-engine which operated my air-pump on 
deck. Just at the moment my cable ceased to 
pay and they knew I had reached bottom, ter 
rific yells were heard under the stern of the 

While all hands, even to the lookout, were in 
tently watching the progress of affairs on deck, 
a dozen canoes of savages, paddling out from 
shore, unobserved, had run directly under our 
stern, where they set up an unearthly outcry. 

Instantly the deck was a scene of confusion ; 
the drummer beat the call to arms ; the marines 
sprang forward to repel boarders. Then it 
transpired as suddenly that the assault was en 
tirely a peaceable one, and that, far from 
meditating hostilities, the natives had brought 
out a supply of bananas to barter for tobacco 
and trinkets. 

Unhappily, as I have intimated, Morley had 
a weakness for bananas. During the first panic 
h6 did not lose his head ; he stuck faithfully to 
his post. But the minute the second cry was 
raised, Morley, intent on securing a desirable 
bunch (for us to eat between us, as he sobbed to 
me long afterwards), rushed aft to make ar 
rangements for securing the pick of the cargo. 

That brief interval of absence cost me all 
the torture 1 have described, and more. When 


he hastened back to his post the air-gauge on 
my supply-hose indicated the awful pressure of 
twenty-eight pounds almost two atmospheres. 
Morley, sure I was done for, fell down like a 
dead man. In feverish haste they raised me, 
and then came the crowning misfortune. In 
disengaging the heavy bucket of ooze while I 
swung above the rail, a lubberly marine un 
luckily dropped it overboard. Professor Dale 
screamed; it was too late. The fruit of my 
tremendous endeavor sank like a plumb-bob be 
fore his eyes and still rests in the depths of 
the sea. 

Meantime my comrades were working at me. 
My armor proved to be absolutely intact. They 
succeeded at length in smashing the visor. I 
must have been a spectacle, for they were great 
ly frightened. 

It was a long time before the combined ef 
forts of the entire ship's company of surgeons 
were successful in restoring me to life. For an 
unknown interval I had sustained an atmos 
pheric pressure so great that at last my wind 
pipe had burst under it. It was as if they had 
sought to inflate me as one does a toy balloon. 
The effusion of blood after the rupture of my 
trachea had seemed like water rushing into my 
throat. Since that day I have never been able 


to speak a loud word. Thanks to careful sur 
gery, I can whisper; but the power to speak is 

Ever since then Morley has endeavored to 
atone for his one moment of thoughtlessness by 
unremitting devotion to me ; but the sight of a 
bunch of bananas even now throws me into a 
cold sweat. 

Again I am shrouded in the gloom of the 
ocean depths; again I suffocate with an ex 
cess of air ; in imagination the pains of strangu 
lation overpower me, and I turn to Morley in 
a faint. 

Professor Dale still bemoans the irreparable 
loss of the ooze; but personally I have never 
felt any uncontrollable desire to go down after 
another sample. 


In the Service of Japan 

" T^HE Marshal would give a foot to get the 

1 plans of that fort." 

" I know it, and I wish we could wipe his 
eye by getting them for him." 

The speakers were Hikoichi Len and Matsada 
Orita, two junior officers on the Japanese cruis 
er Yed-Sin. For several weeks during the war 
between China and Japan the vessel had been 
cruising in the waters off Port Arthur, await 
ing the decisive moment when the army was 
to effect a combination with the navy in an 
attempt to capture that important stronghold. 
All that the plans now lacked of completion 
was the knowledge of the interior arrangements 
of a certain fort, the most formidable of those 
which guarded the entrance to the harbor. 

The sun was sinking red and threatening, 
sending long wavering streams of crimson across 
16 227 


the undulating surface of the sea. The crim 
son rays fell upon the polished brass-work of 
the Yed-Sin and made it gleam like iron in the 
forge, while they lit up the dark shiny chases 
of her guns with a fitful glare. The cruiser 
was rolling uneasily as she slipped slowly along 
at a four-knot gait. She was waiting within 
signalling-distance of the shore for a communi 
cation from a party that had heen sent ashore 
to try to get a message through to the advance 
column of the army. 

" I fear that the expedition will be a fail 
ure," said Len. 

" Why ?" asked Orita. 

" Because that young American is with it." 

" Oh, Griffin ? Well, he is a little too bold in 
his ventures, but somehow he has a faculty of 
landing on his feet." 

" Hello ! There goes a green rocket. That 
means that the party is in trouble." 

It was true. Away over on the land some 
miles back of Port Arthur a green rocket had 
soared into the air. The next instant the en 
gine - room bells clanged and the Yed - Sin's 
propellers turned up to full speed. As the 
cruiser gathered headway the bugles sounded, 
" Arm and away for distant service," meaning 
that a landing party was to be sent out to the 



rescue. For several minutes there was a gen 
eral bustle about the deck as some men went 
to their stations and others hastened to provide 
the necessary equipments for the boats. The 
cruiser, meanwhile, steamed steadily ahead, 
and in the course of half an hour was within 
a mile of the shore. Here she came to a stop, 
and orders were given to lower away the boats. 
At that instant a red rocket shot up from the 

" Avast there !" cried the executive officer. 
" Keep fast with the boats." 

The red rocket meant that the signal party 
had escaped and was coming off. Rapid firing 
of small-arms followed the ascent of the rocket, 
but it ceased in a few minutes, and all was 
silent, till the puffing of the steam-launch which 
had taken the party in was heard. Two or three 
minutes later the party came aboard, and the 
officer in charge of it reported that all had es 
caped except the American cadet, Griffin, who 
had resigned from the United States navy to 
enter that of Japan. 

" We were in a deep ravine, well sheltered by 
woods," he said, " and were making our way 
cautiously, when I heard a suspicious sound to 
our left. I knew that the army column was a 
long distance away on our right, and so I or- 


dered every one to keep the strictest silence. I 
was endeavoring to select a suitable man to send 
forward to reconnoitre when I missed Griffin. 
I remembered, then, that he had always burned 
for an opportunity for personal distinction, and 
I was sure that he had slipped away to make 
observations on his own account. I foresaw 
the result, and at once gave orders to retreat as 
quietly as possible to the boat. My conclusion 
was justified five minutes later, when a shot 
was heard in our rear and fire was opened on 
us. If we had remained in the ravine we 
would have been captured. As for Griffin, I 
am sure he walked right into the arms of the 

The officer was commended for his judgment 
and energy. The executive officer frowned 
when he mentioned Griffin's name and then 
shrugged his shoulders. 

" I don't wonder he shrugs his shoulders," 
said Len. 

" Nor I," responded Orita. " We shall never 
see the unhappy American boy again." 

Joe Griffin, with his hands tied behind his 
back and a bandage over his eyes, had just come 
to a similar conclusion. He had, indeed, walk 
ed straight into the arms of a party of Chinese 
scouts sent out to watch the Japanese landing- 


party. If he had not left his companions, they 
might have passed the scouts unnoticed in the 
darkness. Now the landing expedition had 
failed, and he was being led over roots and 
rocks, a prisoner. He had no idea where he 
was going, but he felt pretty sure that he would 
never come back, for the Chinese had an un 
pleasant way of murdering prisoners taken, as 
he was, on the pretext that they were spies. 
For two hours the rough march continued, and 
then Joe heard the challenge of sentries and 
was aware that they were entering an armed 
post. Day was breaking, and when the bandage 
was removed from his eyes he saw in the brief 
time he had that he was inside of a strong fort. 
A hasty glance through an embrasure showed 
him the sea, and, far away upon the horizon, 
the sharply outlined form of the Yed-Sin. 

" Great Scott !" he exclaimed, mentally. 
" I'm in the very fort of which they want the 
plans so badly !" Bancroft Library 

He had no further time for thought, for they 
led him to his prison. It was a simple kind of 
jail. It was a rude wooden hut built against 
the wall of the fort on the side farthest from 
the sea. Joe noted, as he entered it, that it 
was close to an embrasure through which he 

could see a large bay. 



"I understand/' he thought. "This fort 
stands on the extreme end of the point of en 
trance to the harbor of Port Arthur. But how 
on earth am I to profit by that knowledge ?" 

Once inside the prison, Joe found that there 
were numerous crevices through which he could 
see the interior of the fort. 

" I wonder how long I have to live ?" he re 
flected. " Anyhow, I'm going to be prepared 
for any fate." 

So saying, he began to rummage through the 
pockets of his coat. 

" Oh dear !" he exclaimed, " I have not a 
scrap of paper nor a pencil.' 7 

Then he went through his trousers pockets. 

"Hello! What's this? A box of matches. 
Oh, I remember; I put them there when I 
started, thinking we might need them if we 
camped out. They'll do for pencils; and this 
is as good as paper." 

He stripped himself of his shirt, and tore a 
small piece out of its light bosom. 

"Now let's see what we can see," he mur 
mured, applying his eye to a crack. " That's 
the south front over there. I've got to make 
this plan mighty small, haven't I ? If I don't, 
I shall not be able to conceal it in case I do 

get a chance to escape. They don't seem to be 


watching me very closely, either; but it's just 
like them." 

At that instant he heard a noise at the door, 
and he had barely time to thrust his piece of 
linen into a crack before a Chinese officer en 
tered, followed by a soldier bearing some food. 

" You hungry ?" asked the officer, in a dia 
lect known to both parties in the war. 

" Yes/ 7 answered Joe. 

" Good. Eat. To-morrow, sunrise, you head 
cut off." 

Joe looked around nervously. 

" ~No escape," continued the officer. " Three 
sides of fort water. Fort eighty feet high on 
rocks straight down water very deep. Other 
side woods full of our soldiers. No escape." 

The officer smiled and, with the soldier, de 

" Many thanks for your information," said 
Joe. " So we're eighty feet up on perpendicular 
rocks, with plenty of water at the bottom, eh? 
How high did they tell me the Constellation's 
f oretopsail-yard was ?" 

Joe sat in a brown study for some time. 
Then he suddenly exclaimed : 

" Til try it if I get half a chance." 

He set to work again with fresh energy at 
his plan of the fort, making it as small as 



possible. When it was done he folded it up 
tightly. Next he ripped out the light leather 
lining of his cap, and, tearing off a small piece, 
folded it around his little plan. With great 
patience he now picked a long thread out of 
one of the seams of his shirt, and with this tied 
his diminutive package securely. 

" Will it go ?" he muttered. 

He put it in his mouth. 

" It goes," he thought, with a smile, " and 
room to spare. Thanks be to nature for giving 
me a big mouth." 

The day passed very slowly indeed for Joe. 
As night approached he became more and more 
anxious. At sundown he discovered that two 
sentinels were posted outside his hut, and that 
they began to walk up and down in such a way 
that they were at opposite ends of their posts 
at the same time. 

" That's good," said Joe, as he set to work 
at the fastenings of the door. 

He had only his knife, but it served his pur 
pose, and by ten o'clock he was ready to make 
his attempt. But at that hour the sentries were 
still too wide awake and there were too many 
persons stirring about the enclosure. So he 
gritted his teeth, and, gripping his little packet 
in his hand, walked up and down anxiously. 



The hours crawled on leaden feet, but still they 
did pass, and about one o'clock in the morning 
Joe decided that the sentinels were sleepy 
enough for his purpose. He took off his shoes 
and stockings and his trousers, and stood in his 
light underclothing. 

" I believe the old Constellation's tops'1-yard 
was about sixty, and this is eighty. I don't 
think twenty feet more will make much dif 
ference when it's for life. What's the use of 
being the champion diver and long - distance 
swimmer of the Academy if you can't Well, 
here goes." 

The sentinels were lounging drowsily at the 
farther ends of their posts. Joe loosed the last 
slight fastening, swung the door gently back, 
put his little packet in his mouth, drew two 
or three long breaths, shut his teeth, and jump 
ed out. 

His first bound took him to the corner of the 
hut. His second carried him into the embrasure 
beside the muzzle of the big gun. For a single 
instant he steadied himself; then he jumped 
straight out into the blackness. 

Down, down he went, the air rushing past 

his ears with a roar like thunder. But he 

realized that he was holding his balance and 

falling feet first, and the old thrill of excite- 



ment ran through him again as he renewed the 
sensations of his famous Academy jumps from 
the f oretopsail-yard. 


He was in the water, shooting towards the 
bottom at terrific speed. I^ow he turned the 
soles of his feet flat against the water and 
spread out the palms of his hands. Gradually 
he came to a stop and began to rise. A few 
downward strokes helped him. But he was al 
most spent. He could feel the throbbings of 
his heart and the heavy surging of the blood, 
while his chest heaved with the convulsive strug 
gles of his lungs to breathe. Stars began to 
dance before his eyes, and the poor boy was 
ready to open his mouth and drown when, to 
his intense joy, his head shot out of the water. 
He turned on his back and floated for a few 
moments to rest himself. He listened intent 
ly. Yes, there were noises in the air above 

His escape was discovered. He swam right 
in to the foot of the cliff, and was fortunate 
enough to find a projection on which he could 
rest in the deep shadow. He remained there only 
a few minutes. He slipped into the water again, 
and swam around the point to the sea front of 
the fort. * Fortunately there was hardly any sea 


on, and he found another projection, on which 
he rested for a time. 

" If they think I'm in the water/' he re 
flected, " they'll search for me on the other 

The boy took a good rest, made sure that he 
was not hurt, and then started on his long swim 
along shore. He finally passed the limit of the 
rocks, and reached a shelving beach. He went 
ashore, and was amazed and overjoyed to find 
a small boat partly concealed in the bushes. In 
ten minutes he had it in the water, and was 
bound out to sea. 

Just as the light of morning was beginning 
to make objects at sea discernible the lookout 
on the cruiser Yed-Sin called out : 

"Boat ho!" 

" Where away ?" asked the officer of the 

" Right abeam, sir, to windward. It looks 
like a small boat with one man in it." 

The cruiser dropped down towards the boat, 
and its occupant was ordered to come aboard. 
A bedraggled, staggering, ghastly figure as 
cended to the deck. 

"Goodness!" exclaimed the officer of the 
deck, no other than Orita, " it's Griffin." 


The swaying boy put his hand to his mouth, 
and, taking out the little packet, threw it on the 
deck. " There are the plans of that fort," he 
said, and then he fainted. 

A week later Port Arthur was captured.